Was it the work of mere petty vandals, or a pack of salmon-loving eco-terrorists?
Whoever is responsible for ruining a fish hatchery and creek-restoration program, painstakingly put together by Petaluma high school students, cut lines supporting pens holding back about 40,000 chinook salmon, according to news reports. The fish had been raised from eggs by students at Casa Grande High School, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
The fish were due to be sent into the ocean fairly soon anyway: the students were planning on releasing the fish at the end of the month, the capstone of the yearlong Tiburon Salmon Institute.
The salmon pens are attached to the dock of SF State's Romberg Tiburon Center near Paradise Beach Park. Sometime between 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and 9 a.m. Tuesday, the thick plastic lines that hold up two of the large pens were cut, allowing fish to swim out through a "sag," according to reports.
The young salmon are all fairly small, about 10 inches long, and deputies think they may have been released into the bay to be used as bait. According to deputies, it was a purposeful crime done by a vandal with wire cutters.
"Someone knew what they were doing," Brooke Halsey, executive director of the Tiburon Salmon Institute, told the newspaper.