Not a good year for local pelagic fishes

Almost annually since 1967, the California Department of Fish and Game has conducted a Fall Midwater Trawl Survey (FMWT) from September through December to index the fall abundance of pelagic fishes.  Here are results from the 2012 Survey, completed December 12:

Delta smelt index – 42, one of the lowest indices in FMWT history.  (Compare to the high of 1673 in 1970.)

Age-0 Striped Bass index – 125, one of the lowest indices in FMWT history.  (Compare to the high of 19,677 in 1967.)

Longfin Smelt index – 61, the second lowest index in FMWT history. (Compare to the high of 81,737 in 1967.)

Threadfin Shad index – 41, the lowest index in FMWT history.  (Compare to a high of 15,267 in 1997.)

American Shad index – 415, the fourth lowest in FMWT history.  (Compare to the high of 9,360 in 2003.)

The Fall Midwater Trawl was underway in September when a consultant to the Sacramento Valley Water Users Group and the Northern California Water Association submitted a report to the State Water Resources Control Board criticizing the FMWT methods of collecting data.  This is the kind of data the Water Board will use in setting revised flow criteria. 

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