SAN FRANCISCO — Baby salmon are dying by the thousands in one California river and an entire run of endangered salmon could be wiped out in another.
Fishermen who make their living off adult salmon, once they enter the Pacific Ocean, are sounding the alarm as blistering heatwaves and extended drought in the U.S. West raise water temperatures and imperil fish from Idaho to California.
A crash in one year’s class of young salmon can have lasting effects on the total population and shorten or stop the fishing season. That could be devastating to the commercial salmon fishing industry, which in California alone is worth $1.4 billion.
Fishermen say the high cost of salmon is already pricing some customers out.