Warm waters off West Coast has lingering effects for salmon

September 17, 2017 - 12:53 pm

SEATTLE (AP) — The mass of warm water known as "the blob" that heated up the North Pacific Ocean has dissipated.

But scientists are still seeing the lingering effects of those unusually warm sea surface temperatures on Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead.

A federal research survey this summer caught among the lowest numbers of juvenile salmon in 20 years. That suggests that many fish did not survive their first months at sea.

Scientists warn that salmon fisheries may face hard times ahead.

Fisheries managers also worry about below average runs of steelhead returning to the Columbia River now.

Returns of adult steelhead that went to sea as juveniles a year ago so far rank among the lowest in 50 years.

Scientists believe poor ocean conditions are likely to blame.

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