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California drought means 30 million salmon may be trucked to sea

Published on Mar 12, 2014 8:16 AM

SAN FRANCISCO (REUTERS) - California's record drought has left the Sacramento River so low that wildlife officials say they may have to carry all 30 million young salmon from the state's largest man-made hatcheries to the Pacific Ocean in trucks to avoid depleting the stock.

That is roughly three times the amount of salmon that are trucked out of the biggest hatcheries in a typical year, reflecting the severity of a drought that has prompted the governor to declare an emergency and warn of possible water shortages.

"This is not the course we normally take or prefer to take, but under these conditions, it presents us with the best way to get fish out there," said Steve Martarano, a spokesman for the federal Fish and Wildlife service.

California is in its third year of a dry spell that threatens to break all records in the most populous US state, including possibly laying idle a half million acres of cropland, a loss of production that could cause billions of dollars in economic damage.

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