California Drought May Force Transporting Salmon by Tanker Trucks

A statewide drought has forced California and federal wildlife leaders to consider moving salmon to safety by transporting the fish in tanker trucks.

Drought conditions have left many rivers dry, making it difficult for young salmon to swim to the ocean. Officials are now working on a plan to truck more than 15 million young fish from the Coleman Fish Hatchery near Redding closer to the ocean.

"They'll put them in tanker trucks and move them down to the Delta or the Bay and unload them in acclamation pens," said John McManus, of the Golden Gate Salmon Association.

McManus said that giving the juvenile fish a lift will help keep the fragile salmon fishery afloat.

"The juvenile fish this year represent the adult fish that will support our fishery in 2016," he said. "If we get fish moved by truck, survival rate goes way up."

Transporting salmon in a tanker truck does come with risk -- salmon will not know where to spawn.

But federal officials said it appears the severity of the drought will block natural migration, putting an entire industry at risk.

If drought conditions remain, transporting salmon could begin in April, officials said.

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