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Environment, Energy and Transportation

Millions Of California Salmon Are Making Their Way To The Pacific Via Truck

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California Department of Fish & Wildlife
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Tanker trucks carrying salmon smolts from CDFW’s Central Valley hatcheries line up at Fort Baker near the Golden Gate Bridge in preparation to release the fish.

Millions of young salmon are being trucked, rather than swimming downriver to the ocean.

Northern California hatcheries on the Feather River, Nimbus, the Mokelumne and Merced are ferrying their young salmon or smolts 50 to 100 miles on special tanker trucks.

The 146 trucks are traveling 30,000 miles, bypassing Central Valley rivers and the Delta and releasing almost 17 million smolts into San Pablo, Monterey and Half Moon Bay as well as the San Francisco Bay.

Harry Morse with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says low water, warm temperatures, and poor river conditions lessen the chances for survival.

“The rivers have low capacity so we can’t expect more water to be coming in a period of time when we seldom see much rain,” Morse said. “So we need to get them downstream, around stream as quickly as possible.”

Morse says the trucks will be carrying salmon to the ocean from now through June.

He added that salmon generate more than $900 million in economic impact annually for California.

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