Tiburon Salmon Institute told to vacate SFSU site by Sept. 2016

The Tiburon Salmon Institute operates pens to raise the fish before releasing them into the wild. COURTESY TIBURON SALMON INSTITUTE

A Marin County salmon institute has been told it must vacate the San Francisco State University property where it has operated for decades by next fall.

The Tiburon Salmon Institute, which raises 10,000 fall-run Chinook salmon each year at the Romberg Tiburon Center, had been attempting to negotiate a long-term lease with the university for months. But after both sides were unable to reach an agreement, SFSU informed the institute it must vacate the site by Sept. 5, 2016, a university spokesman confirmed Monday.

Brooke Halsey, the institute’s executive director, called the news “devastating.”

The institute had previously received a cease-and-desist order by SFSU last summer following years of safety and financial concerns, but was granted an extension to remain at the center over the summer. The institute has operated at the site rent-free since it was established by the San Francisco Tyee Foundation in 1973.

SFSU officials said the university held a series of meetings over the summer with Halsey and a representative from the office of Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, an advocate for the institute, to address safety concerns noted by the university since 2008.

“Unfortunately, despite good faith efforts from both parties, a resolution could not be reached,” Robert Nava, SFSU vice president for advancement, said in a statement.

Halsey, however, said he is looking to potentially partner with another organization or find a new site to relocate the institute.

“If we can find a home, we’ll keep it alive,” Halsey said. “If we can’t find a home, we’re going to have to pull the plug. It would be very sad if a 40 year project has to end.”

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