SAN PABLO BAY, Calif. (AP) -- Millions of baby salmon have been released into Northern California waterways to help the struggling fish recover from population declines.

The state Department of Fish and Game says most of the 16.5 million young salmon smolts were released into San Pablo Bay, located between the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The fall run of chinook, or king, salmon in the Sacramento River provides much of the fish found off the California and Oregon coasts. But since 2007, this population has dipped to levels so low that fishing has been cancelled or curtailed greatly.

Fishermen blame the decline on the delta's vast series of pumps that divert water to farms that the salmon need to survive. Others blame changing ocean conditions.

The state's smolt releases were completed last week.

Copyright 2010 The AP.

Recommended for you