Past Fishing and Development Makes California Salmon More Vulnerable To Climate Change

Restoration can help diversify salmon habitat and may stabilize fishing opportunities against climate shocks.

From NOAA Fisheries:

California’s native salmon have been harmed by more than a century of mining, dam building, floodplain reclamation, fishing pressure, hatchery practices, and introduced predators. These stressors have undermined the resilience of California’s native salmon to the accelerating effects of climate change, new research shows.

Researchers from NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers chronicled the loss of habitat and genetic diversity that once helped salmon withstand a changing climate.

“The eggs are in fewer baskets,” said Stuart Munsch, an ecosystem scientist at NOAA Fisheries’ Northwest Fisheries Science Center and lead author of the new study published today in Global Change Biology. “The same landscape diversity in California that lets you go skiing and surfing in the same day used to support diverse salmon populations and a fishery well buffered against climate”.

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