It’s a brutal end for these salmon, but it replenishes oceans and feeds families

Thousands of salmon make the grueling journey from the Pacific Ocean up the American River each fall. The spawning run ends for many with a whack on the head at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery, where salmon eggs are gathered and fertilized.

The salmon would normally die a slow death after spawning. But at Nimbus, they’re quickly dispatched in a process viewed annually by hundreds of children and adults through big glass windows at the hatchery in Gold River.

What becomes of the dead salmon is less well known. While the ending isn’t happy for the adult fish, their offspring repopulate the oceans, and tens of thousands of pounds of salmon fillets feed hungry families in northern and central California during the winter months.

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