Energy & Environment

Thousands of salmon found dead in Canadian creek amid drought

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More than 60,000 salmon carcasses were found lining the dried-out bottom of a Canadian creek in what researchers fear is another example of the environmental consequences of climate change.  

Researchers from the Simon Fraser University discovered the scores of dead fish in British Columbia’s Neekas River on Sept. 29, according to Gizmodo.  

Mountains of pink and chum salmon can be seen piled up along the creek bed in a video posted to Twitter on Oct. 4, near the community of Bella Bella close to Heiltsuk territory.  

The video was filmed by German scientist Sarah Mund, who, along with fellow researchers, ventured to the remote waterway to check on the health and number of salmon return to the river to spawn, according to The Guardian.  

One team member estimated that the total number of dead fish was around 65,000 and that 70 percent of the salmon died before being able to reproduce.  

During a normal summer, pink and chum salmon will travel from the Pacific Ocean into more inland streams and estuaries to spawn. After the fish release their eggs and milt, another word for salmon sperm, most of the animals usually die from exhaustion.  

But extremely low water levels caused by a drought plaguing British Columbia trapped the salmon in the river before they could spawn.  

A brief rain followed by a high tide 10 days before the researchers found the carcasses had given the salmon a false sense of safety in traveling upstream, The Guardian reported. 

British Columbia has been experiencing unseasonably warm and dry weather since mid-July, with parts of the coast and northeastern section reaching the province’s most severe drought rating, according to the British Columbia Drought Information Portal.

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