390,000 salmon die at historic hatchery

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Chinook salmon died because of water error at Coleman National Fish Hatchery in Sacramento, California, USA.

“Water was shut off to one of the hatchery’s raceways and wasn’t turned back on during fish-tagging operations on Thursday night,” according to Brett Galyean, the project leader at the Coleman National Fish Hatchery Complex speaking to vcstar.

“It is an unfortunate mistake and the hatchery has already made adjustments in the hatchery procedures to reduce the likelihood of this happening again,” Galyean added.

The fish were 4 months old and died from a lack of oxygen. The loss equals about 3 percent of the hatchery’s annual 12 million fish-production program.

Fish have been produced in the northern Sacramento Valley for over 100 years. It was on the McCloud River that the Baird Station that the US’ national fish hatchery, was established in 1872. The Battle Creek National Fish Cultural Station followed.

Spawning fall Chinook salmon at the Battle Creek National Fish Cultural Station PHOTO: United States Fish and Wildlife Service

But it was in 1942 that the Coleman National Fish Hatchery (Coleman NFH) was established under an act of the U.S. Congress to mitigate the loss of historic spawning habitat caused by the construction of dams.

Until the construction of Shasta and Keswick dams, Chinook salmon and steelhead trout migrated to the upper reaches of the Sacramento, Pit, and McCloud rivers to spawn.