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Hatcheries Can Produce ‘Natural’ Fish, Not Same As ‘Wild’

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Although there was a common understanding among the speakers at the January "Hatchery vs. Wild Salmonid Symposium" that wild fish perform better than hatchery fish, no one in the initial session said that there should be no hatcheries at all. The symposium, in Portland, was sponsored by the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. About 275 people attended. Speakers noted that salmon and steelhead hatcheries in the Northwest can replace fish runs lost to dams and the reduction of habitat, they can bring back imperiled runs of fish as the Snake River sockeye captive broodstock program is doing today; and supplementation programs can build new runs of natural fish. Not one speaker on the first day of this conference suggested that hatcheries don't have a place. In fact, many of the speakers talked about how they are trying to make modern hatcheries work.


California hatcheries have been addressing these issues previously. A scientific group prepared a California Hatchery Review Report for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2012. This report provided recommendations for action by each of the specific hatcheries. Read the Report. Some of these actions are underway at the Nimbus hatchery as evidenced by current work to replace Eel River steel head stock with Central Valley stock.

Stan Backlund

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