Study: Warm Water In Kuskokwim River Could Have Caused Salmon Heart Attacks

In a fascinating report from KYUK public media, Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologists believe warm water in the Kuskokwim River could have been a contributing factor for salmon suffering heart attacks. Here’s a snippet from the story:

“Essentially, what could happen is salmon metabolism speeds up to the point that they’re having heart attacks and going belly up and floating downriver,” explained Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist Ben Gray.

Gray and his crew boated from Bethel to Akiak to check it out. Along the way, they counted about 20 dead salmon. Warm water is also the suspected cause of the higher than normal amounts of parasites infesting salmon harvested along the river. That warm water is coming from the ocean. Kuskokwim Bay has clocked about 10 to 12 degrees above average throughout the summer, and each tide pulls that warm water into the lower river.

Alaska is cooking through an unseasonably warm summer.