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Attempt to ‘Free’ 100,000 Chinook Salmon Probably Just Killed Them

About 100,000 Chinook salmon are free on Mayfield Lake in Mossyrock, Wash.

However, they shouldn’t be.

Over the weekend of May 22-23, vandals cut nylon straps holding up the net of a rearing pen used by the Fish & Wildlife Hatchery.

Not only is this a crime, but the problem for the salmon is yet to come: the Mayfield Dam. At this time of year, the salmon released will have an extremely difficult time making their way to the Pacific Ocean and will probably not survive.

Officials say they raise the nets and transport the juvenile Chinook salmon by truck to the Cowlitz River. That way, the fish bypass the dam and its turbines and make it to the Pacific Ocean.

The Fish & Wildlife Hatchery maintains 20 pens on Mayfield Lake, totaling nearly 2 million fish.

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Attempt to ‘Free’ 100,000 Chinook Salmon Probably Just Killed Them