April 19, 2024 at 12:55 am

77,000 Salmon Leapt To Freedom After Fish Tanker Overturned

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

I never really thought about how fish get from one place to another before being turned into fillets and nuggets, but trucks make sense, I suppose.

Although something faster would make more sense, right?

At any rate, this tanker was full of salmon when it overturned, and the fish, sensing catastrophe, took matters into their own hands.

Er, fins.

The tanker was carrying around 102,000 young Chinook salmon smolts through Oregon when it overturned on its trip to the Imnaha River.

Source: Shutterstock

It skidded around a sharp turn and hit a rocky embankment before rolling onto its roof. The driver received minor injuries.

While you might think the fish were doomed, it turned out that 77,000 of them were not – they leaped and flapped into the nearby Lookingglass Creek.

Chinook salmon are the largest Pacific salmon and were meant to be harvested for spot and to supplement the wild population.

Young salmon hatch in freshwater streams before swimming out to te ocean for a few years. Then, they return to freshwater streams to spawn and expire.

Andrew gibbs, a fish hatchery coordinator in eastern Oregon, says salmon do this by instinct.

“They kind of smell their way back. It’s an incredible life history.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates around 20% of the salmon in the truck died, based on information gathered from tracking devices.

“But the silver lining for me is 77,000 did make it into the creek and did not perish. They hit the water running.”

As Ian Malcom said in Jurassic Park, life finds a way.

Even if you try to kill it in a truck full of water, apparently.