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Fish tanker truck accident in Oregon results in loss of 25,000 spring Chinook

Fish tanker truck crash in Oregon
Fish tanker truck crash Oregon
Posted at 1:36 PM, Apr 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-08 16:43:23-04

Over 25,000 spring Chinook were killed after a fish tanker truck transporting approximately 102,000 smolts was involved in an accident on March 29 near Lookingglass Hatchery in northeast Oregon. The fish are a threatened species and were being transported from the hatchery to the Imnaha River for tribal and sport harvest as part of the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan.

The accident occurred on a sharp corner with the 53-foot truck rolling onto the passenger side, skidding on its side on the pavement, and then going over a rocky embankment causing it to roll onto its roof. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employee who was driving the truck is safe but received minor injuries.

About 77,000 smolts made it into Lookingglass Creek, a nearby tributary of the Grande Ronde River, but roughly 25,500 smolts died in the accident. The lost smolts represent about 20% of the total to be released into the Imnaha River this year. Fishery managers expect to see about 500-900 fewer adult fish returning in 2026 and 2027 due to the loss.

"We are thankful the ODFW employee driving the truck was not seriously injured," ODFW fish hatchery coordinator Andrew Gibbs said. "This should not impact our ability to collect future brood stock or maintain full production goals in the future."