Scientists have recently observed that the water in Alaska is so hot that it is killing sockeye, chum, and pink salmon… just to name only a few, according to CNN. During an expedition along Alaska’s Koyukuk River, scientists counted over 850 dead unspawned salmon, and they estimate that the total was 10 times higher. “Nearly all of the salmon that we found still had beautiful eggs still inside them,” said Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission.
Considering the large number of deaths among the salmon coincided with the heatwave, it was concluded that heat stress was the cause of the deaths among all of the salmon. “I have never heard of anything to this extent before,” stated Quinn-Davidson. “Physiologically, in heated waters such as this, the fish can’t get oxygen moving through their bellies,” said Sue Mauger, the science director for the Cook Inletkeeper. “The salmon didn’t have the energy to spawn and died with healthy eggs in their bellies,” she continued. Scientists are hoping that this heat-related death among the salmon will not have long term effects on the state’s salmon population.