SEATTLE—After repeatedly gorging itself on marine sea life for more than seven years, a severely obese chinook salmon told reporters Wednesday he had grown too overweight to swim upstream and reproduce.
“I used to be able to swim hundreds of miles to my natal stream,” the male salmon said as he recovered in a brackish estuary after swimming several feet against the current and growing fatigued. “But now I’m so fat I can’t even leap out of the water to overcome a natural obstacle. And when I try, my fins are super sore for a couple days.”
“Could you give me a second? I need to rest until this stitch in my side goes away,” the overweight anadromous fish added.
According to sources, minimal efforts to maintain a healthy body weight and remain attractive to spawning female salmon, along with years of binge-eating and late-night snacking on crustaceans, have finally caught up with the portly fish.
“I mean, I try to swim every day,” said the salmon, gasping for oxygen and lamenting his lack of gill capacity. “But I never could cut all those fattening Pacific herring out of my diet. I guess I’m paying for it now.”
Using an abstruse process of geomagnetic navigation that remains a mystery to scientists, the salmon is reportedly still able to home in on the same riverine drainage from which he hatched many years ago, but traversing the thousands of feet of elevation gain required to complete the journey has proven daunting for the flabby, out-of-shape fish.
“I wish some female would just come down here and let me externally fertilize her eggs so I wouldn’t have to swim all the way up to the goddamn headwaters,” the salmon said. “Not that any female would let me deposit sperm on her roe anyway.”
“What kind of salmon gets stuck in rapids, for God’s sake?” the chinook continued. “A fat one, apparently. A big, fat, ugly salmon.”
In years prior, before reaching his current body mass, the salmon would have traveled more than 900 miles upstream to Idaho; today, however, the fish’s frame is so encumbered by excess weight that he becomes winded after a few minutes of wagging his caudal fin in the water.
“My olfactory glands tell me I need to keep moving, but my body says otherwise,” said the salmon, heaving his 160-pound body through a shallow. “How much further do I have? Am I almost there? This is really embarrassing.”
“I’m so beat that I probably don’t even have enough stamina to release my milt,” the pudgy fish added.
Salmon are not the only animals in the riparian ecosystem afflicted with obesity. One local grizzly bear, who subsists on salmon during the annual run, told reporters he is now too overweight to catch the fish as they migrate upstream.
“These little suckers are fast,” said the 1,300-pound male grizzly, resting on his haunches and breathing heavily. “I’m just going to wait by the water’s edge and hope they leap by my face.”