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Heat causes fish to die at local hatchery

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BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Water that was too warm killed about 5,400 rainbow trout at the Whatcom Falls Park hatchery during a summer marked by drought and high temperatures.

The Bellingham Herald reports most of the fish were in two large shallow ponds at the hatchery, which belongs to the Washington state Department of Fish & Wildlife but is operated by Bellingham Technical College’s fisheries program.

Kevin B. Clark is the Nooksack Basin hatchery manager for Fish & Wildlife. He says the warm weather “basically cooked” the fish.

Clark said the massive fish die-off happened first in one pond, around mid-July, and then in a second pond the third week of July — both seemingly overnight.

This was the second hottest July on record in Bellingham. The average high was 76.8 degrees. The normal high is 71.3 degrees.

Clark says most of the fish that died were going to be among those put into area lakes for fishing. A couple hundred managed to survive.