Delta Smelt: Social Outcast.

A Humorous Editorial by Jacob Robinson

Schoolyard bullying has been around since the dawn of schoolyards, and possibly before that. The effects of bullying on both the bully and the bullied are widely debated, and conclusions about the matter are widely diverse. Is bullying a necessary evil that helps shape our youth into well rounded, well-adjusted members of society that are ready to handle what the world throws at them? Or is it a cry for help that goes unheard upon the unwashed masses, leaving social pain and sadness in its wake? For the delta smelt, bullying has turned this happy Osmeridae into the wallflower of the delta.

A recent epidemic has occurred throughout the upper San Francisco estuary, schools of Chinook salmon have been tormenting delta smelt. These salmon, which are typically adults migrating up to spawn or smolts heading out to sea, have been making a previously unscheduled stop on their journey. It is unknown how the feud originally started; some speculate that an elder smelt and a juvenile salmon were fighting over the same piece of detritus, and things escalated quickly from there. Regardless of its origin it has gotten way out of hand and needs to be stopped.

Although the adult Chinooks constantly remind the smelt of how badly they swim and how they will never get to travel to the exotic coastal destinations, the smolts are by far the worst. At first they started out by making fun of the smelts name Hypomesus transpacificus, stating how they are super messy and pointing out the obvious of how the smelt will never make a transpacific journey. Soon they pointed out the smelt’s smell which sources say is like “Putrid Cucumbers,” coining the phrase, “you smelt it you dealt it,” a clever play on “delta smelt.” Another common phrase uttered by smolts is, “O instead of E gets you out to sea.” Just plain rotten!

I don’t know what the future holds for the relationship between the delta smelt and Chinook salmon. I like to believe their problems can be worked on and ultimately be worked out. Fortunately for the delta smelt and Chinook salmon there are safe places like Wildlands’ Liberty Island Conservation Bank, where these species can coexist and discuss their differences. I think with a little bit of time and a little hard work they will learn that there is enough detritus in the delta for everyone.