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U.S., Japan families release baby salmon for Earth Day

Children release baby salmon into the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. The baby salmon released during this event were bred from last season’s salmon catch. After living three to five years in the Northern Sea, the fish find their way back to the river to create future generations.

Children release baby salmon into the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. The baby salmon released during this event were bred from last season’s salmon catch. After living three to five years in the Northern Sea, the fish find their way back to the river to create future generations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Participants from the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release pose for a group photo during the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. This event showcases the rich history of Japanese culture in association with the planet as a part of an Earth Day celebration. American attendance strengthened the host nation partnerships by building relations with local Japanese.

Participants from the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release pose for a group photo at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. This event showcases the rich history of Japanese culture in association with the planet as a part of an Earth Day celebration. American attendance strengthened the host nation partnerships by building relations with local Japanese. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

A child releases baby salmon into the Oirase River during the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. After release, these fish begin their journey in the ocean to grow and reproduce. Later in the year, the salmon return for the Rokkasho Salmon Festival.

A child releases baby salmon into the Oirase River during the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. After release, these fish begin their journey in the ocean to grow and reproduce. Later in the year, the salmon return for the Rokkasho Salmon Festival. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Japanese children wait for the start of the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. The park conducts this bilateral event as part of Earth Day, encouraging awareness and appreciation for the environment.

Japanese children wait for the start of the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. The park conducts this bilateral event as part of Earth Day, encouraging awareness and appreciation for the environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Participants pause for a photo during the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. Families volunteered to release more than 400,000 baby salmon into the Oirase River during the Earth Day event.

Participants pause for a photo during the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. Families volunteered to release more than 400,000 baby salmon into the Oirase River during the Earth Day event. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Buckets of baby salmon sit in the grass before release in the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. Yearly, Team Misawa members gathered with local Japanese residents to release young fish into the Oirase River, contributing to the local ecosystem.

Buckets of baby salmon sit in the grass before release in the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. Yearly, Team Misawa members gather with local Japanese residents to release young fish into the Oirase River, contributing to the local ecosystem. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Hundreds of American and Japanese families gather at the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. This event allowed families to release baby salmon into the river. The salmon later return as adults for the Oirase River Salmon Festival later in the year. Misawa Air Base leadership participated in the event, sharing in cultural experiences with their Japanese neighbors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

Hundreds of American and Japanese families gather at the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release at Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16, 2019. This event allowed families to release baby salmon into the river. The salmon later return as adults for the Oirase River Salmon Festival later in the year. Misawa Air Base leadership participated in the event, sharing in cultural experiences with their Japanese neighbors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Branden Yamada)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --

Hundreds of American and Japanese families gathered at the Oirase River for the 22nd Annual Baby Salmon Release in Shimoda Salmon Park, Japan, March 16.

Local and Misawa Air Base children released baby salmon into the Oirase River and then cleaned up the park, removing trash and debris.

The annual event is a local effort to help encourage awareness and appreciation for the environment in a fun way while promoting Japanese-American relations. Baby salmon released this year will return to the river in 2023 to lay eggs and build their nests, restarting the life cycle.