Discovery reports that according to a new study published in the Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, Chinook salmon (also known as king salmon) in at least one California watershed are likely to disappear by the century’s end.
Salmon are especially vulnerable to climate change because they are dependent on cold water and the rising temperatures are causing the redistribution of salmon populations and their ability to reproduce.
According to the study, Chinook salmon populations have declined by 99%. The study looked at various scenarios for the future, ranging from no increasing greenhouse gas emission rates to emissions leveling off by the end of the century. Even the most optimistic scenario predicts that Chinook salmon will not survive beyond the year 2099.
In addition to warming waters, overfishing and habitat loss are also responsible for impacting Chinook salmon populations. The threat to salmon in itself very saddening, but many other animals, including bears, orca whales, seals and birds rely on them as a vital food source. The vanishing salmon populations will have significant negative consequences on these species and entire ecosystems.
Chinook Salmon Image Source: Wikimedia Commons