It's so mesmerizing that you almost don't need context, just the information that that is a pipe full of baby fish who will soon head out to sea.
But where would we be without context? According to ABC 7, that pipe of fish is a massive — slow down and count 'em, there's 200,000 — batch of adolescent salmon that was loaded onto a Sausalito fishing boat called the Merva Sunday before heading out to be released in the Pacific.
It's all part of an effort to bolster up California's salmon population, which has been endangered by rising water temperatures that, as NPR reported in 2015, "has caused high mortality for the young salmon, which are very temperature sensitive in their early life stages." Salmon born in 2014 and 2015 has a survival rate of about five percent, which, Yale Environment reports, has spurred scientists to worry that "the Chinook salmon will be unable to tolerate future conditions and will all but vanish from California’s landscape" as "climate change is emerging as the next great threat to California’s remaining salmon runs."
The Merva is trying to stave off that environmental disaster, ABC 7 reports, by transporting the young salmon "from a couple state hatcheries out to the ocean." This is basically a helping hand to send them on their way, as "In their natural setting, they are spawned in fresh water rivers and then swim out to salt water through the Golden Gate Bridge." Think of it as hitching a ride.
It's hoped that when these kids grow up, they'll eventually make their way back into the Bay and into the rivers in the Delta to spawn. In an effort to track the success of the project, all the young salmon have been tagged for later identification.
"We're trying to show that barging salmon, these smelts down the river will increase their survival rate, we think significantly," former salmon fisherman Rob Tillitz tells ABC 7. Here's hoping it works. Good luck, little guys!
Previously: This Rain Is Messing Up Our Salmon Migration