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Salmon died in harvesting accident, not due to warm temperatures

August 16, 2019

CLAIM: Video shows hundreds of dead salmon floating in an Alaska bay, killed by warmer temperatures. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The salmon died during a harvesting accident when a net ripped. 

THE FACTS: A social media user uploaded the 15-second salmon video to Facebook on Aug.10 with a caption suggesting that warmer than average weather in Alaska this summer had caused the deaths. The video with the false caption received millions of views online, including more than five million on Facebook and almost three million on Twitter. 

In the video, a yellow kayak passes hundreds of dead pink salmon floating on the water. The video was taken in Tutka Bay. Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association, which runs the Tutka Bay Lagoon Hatchery, said 700-1,200 pink salmon were lost or suffocated in the bay when a net snagged and ripped during a commercial seining operation on July 28. The video with the false caption circulated amid news reports detailing suspected salmon deaths due to July’s record high temperatures in Alaska.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536

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