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California Drought Already Altering State’s Fish Industry

A dependable supply of water is obviously needed for California fish farms, so where will it come from if the drought continues?

The Sacramento Bee reported on how the drought conditions in California are affecting the aquaculture industry as the state struggles to find ways to cope with lower and warmer water levels.

The Fishery, a supply company that provides Sacramento-area markets and restaurants with white sturgeon (prized for their caviar) and catfish, is run by Ken Beer. He says environmental changes, specifically the lack of cool water supplies, is already changing the kinds of regional fish patrons can expect on their dinner plates.

If water temperatures rise too much, sturgeon, a cool water thriver, can’t survive. Catfish, on the other hand, can do quite well in warmer conditions. Though The Fishery can tap into cool underground wells to drop water temps, other suppliers aren’t so lucky.

Tim Goodson, owner of Calaveras Trout Farm in Snelling, said he lost 2 million fish last year due to warm water die offs.

Off the 144 freshwater fish farms registered in California, about a quarter consists of commercial aquaculture operators. If conditions don’t change, Beer says, it’s not the competition he’s worried about. It’s the livelihood of his entire industry.

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California Drought Already Altering State’s Fish Industry