Eight tons of chum salmon destroyed after truck spill in Juneau

An estimated 16,000 to 18,000 pounds of chum salmon were destroyed after a truck overturned in downtown Juneau Monday afternoon. The spill blocked Egan Drive, a major roadway leading in and out of downtown.

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Crews load salmon back into fish totes after a tuck rollover on Egan Drive on July 25th, 2016. (Photo by Mikko Wilson, KTOO - Juneau)
Crews load salmon back into fish totes after a tuck rollover on Egan Drive on July 25th, 2016. (Photo by Mikko Wilson, KTOO – Juneau)

Department of Environmental Conservation’s Environmental Health Inspector Jason Wiard received phone calls after the spill. He said he called around to find out who it belonged to.

He said Taku Fisheries, a local business, owned the truck, and the business name on the totes was Icy Strait. Wiard said the fish were destroyed after being considered unsafe for consumption since they fell onto the roadway.

News of the accident quickly spread through town, with some drivers holding up traffic by taking photos.

“I think time of day was a big issue, right at that 5 o’clock traffic, right downtown, when people are trying to get in and out–had a big impact on that whole fiasco, and today with social media being the way that it is, it was instantaneous, everybody kind of knew,” he said.

16,000lbs of salmon spill from a rolled truck on Egan Drive on July 25th, 2016. (Photo by Mikko Wilson, KTOO - Juneau)
16,000lbs of salmon spill from a rolled truck on Egan Drive on July 25th, 2016. (Photo by Mikko Wilson, KTOO – Juneau)

Although it’s rare for a truckload of spilled fish to block a major roadway in the capital city, Wiard said it’s not the first time.

“I think it has happened in recent years, just on a smaller scale” Wiard said. “I believe one of their [Taku’s] competitors, it happened where they lost a tote of fish—a single tote by the way, not 16 totes.”

The truck driver was taken to the Bartlett Regional Hospital and released the same day. The overturned truck caused a traffic jam for roughly three hours. After about a dozen employees from Taku Fisheries helped pick up the fish, the road was cleaned and sanded.

Taku Fisheries could not be immediately reached for comment.