Thousands of spring Chinook were killed in a fish tanker accident in northeastern Oregon

Thousands of spring Chinook were killed in a fish tanker accident in northeastern Oregon

LA GRAND, Ore. (KTVZ) – More than 25,000 spring Chinook were killed in a fish tanker truck crash last Friday while transporting about 102,000 smolts for release into the Emnaha River, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday. .

The ODFW employee who was driving the truck was OK but suffered minor injuries, the agency said.

The accident occurred on a sharp angle with the 53-foot truck flipping onto its passenger side, sliding on its side onto the sidewalk, then going over a rock embankment, causing it to flip onto its roof.

The accident occurred next to the Looking Glass River, a tributary of the Grand Ronde River. About 77,000 juvenile fish arrived in the creek when the tanker capsized, but 25,529 juvenile fish died and their carcasses were recovered either in the tanker or on the riverbank.

The Union County Sheriff’s Office responded immediately and assisted with field assessments and vehicle recovery operations. Small amounts of diesel fuel were quickly contained and did not result in a hazardous materials spill response, ODFW said.

Lookingglass Hatchery raises spring Chinook as part of hydroelectric mitigation under the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan, for tribal and sport harvest, and to supplement the Emneha River wild population listed as threatened.

ODFW also notified the Associate Directors of Fisheries, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation when the incident occurred.

NPT staff responded and provided additional assistance by assisting in collecting dead fish, counting them, and scanning them for PIT (Passive Integrated Transceiver) tags. Information gathered from PIT tags, including those that have not been released, will help ensure the best possible estimates of survival and future adult return.

The lost waste represents about 20 percent of the total that will be released into the Imneha River this year. Fisheries managers expect to see between 500 and 900 adult fish return in 2026 and 2027 due to the loss. The 77,000 fish that arrived in Lookingglass Creek will likely return there and produce approximately 350-700 additional adults.

“We are grateful the ODFW employee driving the truck was not seriously injured. This should not impact our ability to collect future brood stock or maintain full production goals going forward,” said Andrew Gibbs, ODFW’s eastern Oregon fish hatchery coordinator.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *