Record-setting heat killing marine life in California, British Columbia

A salmon ladder at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Central California.

Record-high temperatures across the Pacific Northwest is killing off marine life from the U.S. state of California to British Columbia, Canada.

An estimated one billion sea creatures on the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada have died due to the heatwave, according to Christopher Harley, a professor of zoology at the University of British Columbia

"I've been working in the Pacific Northwest for most of the past 25 years, and I have not seen anything like this here," Harley, who has studied the regional marine environment for 25 years, told NPR. "This is far more extensive than anything I've ever seen."

Harley counted 600,000 dead mussels on just 164 feet of beach.

"This is a preliminary estimate based on good data, but I'm honestly worried that it's a substantial underestimate," Harley said.

In California, the recent heat wave, combined with a drought that has resulted in low water levels, is making the Sacramento River so hot that “nearly all” of the chinook salmon juveniles in the river could be cooked to death this fall, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in an update, per The Sacramento Bee.

“This persistent heat dome over the West Coast will likely result in earlier loss of ability to provide cool water and subsequently it is possible that nearly all in-river juveniles will not survive this season,” CDFW said.

Downtown Sacramento recently experienced its record-high temperature at 113 degrees Farenheit.

In May, the National Marine Fisheries Service also warned up to 88 percent of the young chinook salmon in the Sacramento River could perish this year due to high temperatures and other environmental factors.

Photo courtesy of Katharine Moore/Shutterstock


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