The Impact of Fish Farms on California Salmon Fishing

July 10, 2021

Matthew Carroll

Matthew Carroll

There has been debate in the hunting community over whether hunting on whitetail farms or the like is “real hunting.” For a select few hunters, typically wealthy sportsmen with limited time to get out, this is the preferred method of recreation. The same conversation is had between anglers. Some view stocked ponds or lakes as “cheating” or feel farm-raised fish tastes plain or synthetic. Is there a proper or more legitimate way to hunt or fish? Possibly. But regardless of the stance on the topic, most people would agree that stocking the ocean from fish farms would be…strange to say the least.  

California’s Drought and Fish Farms

Well as it turns out, this is what is currently happening in California…in a way. California is actively experiencing another severe drought. California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a “Drought Emergency” for the state as waterways begin to dry up entirely.  

This drying up of the waterways is what has caused the state to taxi the salmon population to the ocean. In California, many species of salmon are born in the rivers, estuaries and reservoirs and then eventually swim out to the ocean. After some time, the salmon will then return to inland bodies of water to mate and lay eggs.  

The Salmons’ Problem 

The problem is that the young population of salmon is at risk of never making it to the ocean. While this could be devastating to future salmon populations, it would also be detrimental to California’s fishing economy, which boasts $900 million in revenue annually.  

In addition to the concern of salmon being cut off from the ocean by waterways drying up, environmentalists are also concerned that the drought is so severe that the water may heat up to the point where the salmon may start to die.   

It is for these reasons that Californians are loading millions of young salmon into tanker trucks and dropping them into a much cooler and less volatile ocean.  

Read more about fish farms on iSportsmanUSA.
Photo courtesy of Austin Neill. 


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