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Majority Of Salmon And Trout In California At Risk Of Extinction In The Next 100 Years

18 May 2017, 6:37 am EDT By Steve Bowman Tech Times
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Scientists estimated that 23 species of salmon and trout found in California would become extinct in the next 100 years. They suggested that climate change, agriculture, and the dams were the main cause behind the declining numbers of fish.  ( Andrew Burton | Getty Images )

Climate change continues to negatively impact our planet and a new study suggests that several salmon and trout species could vanish from California in the next 100 years.

In the report published on Tuesday, May 16, researchers claimed that 23 out of the 31 salmon species found in the Californian waters would likely go extinct within the next century.

What Is Causing The Decline In Salmon And Trout Numbers?

Researchers from the University of California, Davis, and the conservation group California Trout noted that climate change, agriculture, and dams were the primary reasons behind the fall in the numbers and eventual extinction threat.

One of the species in danger of extinction is the highly prized Chinook salmon, which is the only salmon fished and marketed in the state of California.

The new report titled State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Water is an update of a 2008 assessment of a similar nature. At the time, the results were not nearly as alarming as it is now. In 2008, researchers concluded that around five salmon species may become extinct in the next five decades.

However, the new report almost triples the predicted number and notes that 45 percent fish species may become extinct in the next 50 years.

The researchers reasoned that even though degradation of river habitats and water diversions for irrigation could be controlled, the effects of climate change were uncontainable. Salmon and trout prosper in cold water, but due to the rising temperatures, California waters were getting too hot for the fishes to survive. This would eventually be the primary reason for their extinction.

Other potential causes for the rapid decrease in salmons and trout species can be attributed to agriculture. Farming and irrigation both disrupt the normal functioning of the salmon. For instance, farming causes sediments to mix with the water and cause impurity. On the other hand, because of irrigation, rivers are drained of large amounts of water.

How To Minimize The Damage?

The study's authors claim that to restore some salmon population and to avoid their extinction, efforts must be made toward maintaining floodplains and marshes. These provide a suitable habitat for the species. Similarly, efforts must be undertaken to maintain mountain spring-fed creeks, which would provide salmons with the ideal growth temperature despite rising global temperatures.

If the state government decides to employ these processes, the salmons may be saved from total extinction. However, without such efforts, the Californian native salmons and trout are doomed.

One can download the complete report here.

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