Sockeye salmon in the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest have been severely injured from extreme water temperatures from the recent heatwave, according to an Oregon-based nonprofit organization that protects the river’s water quality.

A video released Tuesday by the Columbia Riverkeeper shows the salmon developed “dramatic lesions and fungus” due to lethally hot water temperatures which are causing thermal stress reactions on the fish. 

“The sockeye here are dying. They are suffocating. You can see they are in lethally hot water. We’re in a salmon crisis and it’s time for Congress to act,” Don Sampson, advisory board member of Northwest Tribal Salmon Alliance, told Columbia Riverkeeper.

According to Sampson, the salmon have spent years in the ocean and are now migrating north to reproduce. The many dams in the regions they are migrating to have held up water flow, creating reservoirs of stagnant cesspools that heat up and kill the salmon. The salmon can not even make it to their final natural habitat to spawn.

The heatwave that has been plaguing the Pacific Northwest has only exacerbated the already dire situation these fish were in.

According to the Guardian, the conservation group recorded the video following the heatwave on a day when water temperatures breached 70 degrees Fahrenheit, a lethal temperature for these anadromous fish if they are exposed to it for long periods. The Clean Water Act prohibits the Columbia River from rising over 68 degrees.

Snake River sockeye are on the endangered species list, an NOAA fisheries study reported

With growing concerns around extreme temperature changes caused by climate change, the extinction of naturally spawn salmon species could be a predicament of the near future. 

Brett VandenHeuvel, the executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, told the Guardian that government officials need to see this as a sign of the direct measures they need to put in place to curb the effects of climate change. 

“I see this as a deeply sad vision for our future. But I also see it as a call to action. There’s mitigation measures we can take to save the salmon, to cool our rivers,” he said. “And if this video doesn’t inspire some serious reflection, then I don’t know what will."

High temperatures in Northern California's Sacramento River also recently threatened the Chinook salmon population.