Image # 3028
Thousands of Salmon Dying in Klamath River
File Photo. Over 12,000 salmon died trying to reach their spawning grounds in the Klamath River. Six months ago, US Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries biologists warned the Bush Administration that shifting more water to farmers in the Klamath Basin could have dire consequences for downsteam fish. Now fish are dying in record numbers, and biologists believe that the death toll could reach 30,000 or more. Although most of the dead salmon are Chinook, over a hundred endangered coho salmon have also been killed. All of the salmon are commercially valuable. The fish are victims of bacteria that consume their gill tissue and parasites that attack their intestinal tract - diseases exacerbated by warm water and low water flows that trap fish and allow the pathogens to concentrate. On Sunday, volunteers began removing the dead fish from stretches of the lower Klamath River, hauling the carcasses to a Crescent City, California fertilizer plant. Although the Bush administration denied that their water policies were the cause of the fish kill, Secretary Gail Norton agreed to release additional water in an attempt to alleviate the crisis.