Drought forces California to truck 16.8 million pounds of live salmon downriver

Due to significant drought and poor river conditions this year, trucks will help haul millions of pounds of baby salmon to the California coast.

Projected river conditions show that the water will be too low and warm for the fish to travel downstream on their own. More than 16.8 million pounds of young salmon raised at fish hatcheries will require transportation to the Pacific Ocean.

The trucking operation was announced on April 28 in an effort to ensure“the highest level of survival for the young salmon on their hazardous journey” say officials. From April to mid-June, hatchery-raised chinook salmon will bypass more than 100 miles of their natural water route to reach the Pacific Ocean by truck. 

“(The California Department of Fish and Wildlife) is utilizing lessons learned from the past 15 or more years of salmon releases and the last drought to maximize release success,” North Central Region Hatchery Supervisor Jason Julienne said. “Trucking young salmon to downstream release sites has proven to be one of the best ways to increase survival to the ocean during dry conditions.”

Salmon from four Central Valley hatcheries will be trucked to coastal sites around the San Pablo, San Francisco, Half Moon, and Monterey bays.

The massive trucking operation will transport 20% more salmon than in typical water years, officials said.

CDFW is taking the proactive measure of trucking millions of hatchery-raised juvenile Central Valley fall-run Chinook…

Posted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday, April 28, 2021