California's native salmon struggling in fifth year of drought

September 4, 2016 by Ellen Knickmeyer
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, Jared Davis hauls in a salmon caught off the coast of Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling Salty Lady charter boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

California's iconic native salmon are struggling amid five years of drought.

On a recent fishing trip by the Salty Lady charter boat just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, fishermen were hooking native Chinook salmon that had been born at state and federal hatcheries and then carried in trucks for release downstream.

Golden Gate Salmon Association president Victor Gonella says trucking is the only reason the state's vital fall-run salmon survived the previous two years of drought.

Federal authorities have named another native California salmon, the winter-run Chinook, as one of the nation's eight most endangered species.

Native salmon support a $1.4 billion commercial and sport fishing industry for in the state. They are also critical food sources for West Coast animals ranging from orcas to bears and eagles.

In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a group of veterans stand on the Salty Lady charter boat while heading out under the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn to go salmon fishing near San Francisco. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, Jared Davis prepares rods for salmon fishing as the Salty Lady charter boat heads for the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn in Sausalito, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a group of veterans stand on the Salty Lady charter boat while heading out at dawn to go salmon fishing near Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a veteran on the Salty Lady charter boat struggles to reel in a salmon off the coast of Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a charter boat fishes for salmon off the coast of Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a salmon flails in a water tub after being caught off the coast of Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling Salty Lady charter boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a group of veterans on the Salty Lady charter boat are silhouetted in the morning sky while salmon fishing off the coast of Stinson Beach, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a pair of veterans sleep on the Salty Lady charter boat during their return trip from salmon fishing outside San Francisco. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling Salty Lady charter boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
In this photo taken Monday, Aug. 29, 2016, a group of veterans stand on the Salty Lady charter boat and hold up some of the salmon they caught after docking in Sausalito, Calif. After five years of California drought, the sleek, flapping salmon that fishermen were hauling aboard the rolling boat this week were the survivors of the survivors, there to be hooked and netted only because state and federal agencies have stepped in to do much of the salmon-raising that the state's overtapped rivers used to do. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Explore further: Drought pushes endangered California salmon to the brink

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