Salmon to be migrated to Pacific Ocean by trucks
The annual migration of millions of California's hatchery-raised six-month-old salmon to the Pacific Ocean has been planned through trucks as it will be too risky for small fish to migrate on its own. Each spring, the state's hatcheries release millions of smolts into rivers and streams to allow them to migrate to the ocean.
But as the state is in the midst of draught for the third year in a row, the depleted rivers and streams have made juvenile salmon's annual migration to the ocean too dangerous.
As six-month-old salmon, known as smolt, cannot pass river dams and water diversion pumps to reach the ocean this year. State and federal wildlife agencies have opted to help them migrate through trucks.
Kari Burr, a biologist at the Fishery Foundation of California, said, "The drought conditions have caused lower flows in the rivers, warmer water temperatures, and the fish that would normally be swimming down the rivers would be very susceptible to predation and thermal stress."
The agencies are trucking nearly 27 million smolts, nearly 50 per cent more than normal, because of the persistent drought.
Some experts say that skipping the river journey will devoid the migratory fish of the knowledge how to swim home to spawn in three years. But, wildlife officials claim that trucking six-month-old salmon to the ocean will ensure a large number of the fish will survive and grow to become California's king salmon.
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