Long outlawed, salmon ranching might make a comeback – Kitsap Sun

Another bad idea makes a comeback. Can’t we just kill this idea before it becomes another fiasco? Just to the north of us here, in British Columbia, net pens are creating huge problems because of waste and disease. There is no good reason to bring back private hatcheries and net pens, even if they are labeled with a ‘fun’ label like, salmon ranching. It’s just a PR trick.

OLYMPIA — A long-prohibited method of salmon farming is gaining support among state fisheries managers.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is dusting off the idea of allowing private companies to raise and release salmon for commercial harvests. Known as salmon ranching, the practice boomed in the Northwest during the 1970s. It went bust in Oregon and was outlawed in Washington but continues to thrive in Alaska. Norway and Japan are world leaders in the business, producing huge quantities of ranched salmon, lobster, cod and other species.


Drought Becomes Deadly For Olympic Peninsula’s Hatchery Fish – KPLU

The Makah have had to kill off their hatchery fish. Not enough water. Too much heat.

This summer’s extreme drought is becoming increasingly deadly for fish in the northwest.

The state department of Fish and Wildlife had already lost about one and a half million juvenile fish in overheated rivers and streams in Washington at the end of July, due to this summer’s historically warm temperatures and low water levels

KPLU Story

Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third – Longview Daily News

The scientific debate over whether hatchery fish are outcompeting natives and subsequent lawsuits, have had an effect. This is good news for wild fish and wild fish advocates. The hatchery fish have been proven to lead to disasterous results in wild fish recovery. The study on wild vs. hatchery fish in the Rogue River basin is what has prompted this. The Rogue, a river that has never had a hatchery, has seen increases in native fish, while the similar river in Washington, from an environmental POV, the Skagit, which includes hatcheries, has seen their wild fish decimated. The key event that has been shown to be the differentiator is the introduction of hatchery fish into the Skagit. Now WDFW is acting on these lawsuits.

The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Longview Daily News)


Ocean acidification a culprit in commercial shellfish hatcheries’ failures – phsy.org

More news on the science coming in that definitively is pointing to Ocean Acidification being the culprit in hatchery mortality rates here.

The mortality of larval Pacific oysters in Northwest hatcheries has been linked to ocean acidification. Yet the rate of increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the decrease of pH in near-shore waters have been questioned as being severe enough to cause the die-offs. Now, a new study of Pacific oyster and Mediterranean mussel larvae found that the earliest larval stages are sensitive to saturation state, rather than carbon dioxide (CO2) or pH (acidity) per se. Saturation state is a measure of how corrosive seawater is to the calcium carbonate shells made by bivalve larvae, and how easy it is for larvae to produce their shells. A lower saturation rate is associated with more corrosive seawater. Cheryl Dybas reports. (PHYS.ORG)


And this article follows on it.


For those wanting to understand the science behind “saturation state” you can find the definition down this page. Just “find” saturation state when you get to it. The formula is there.


More time to comment on feds’ plan for Puget Sound salmon hatcheries – Skagit Valley Herald

There has been some controversy in the last year over steelhead and the hatcheries. I’ve covered the issue here if you wish to search for background info.

The public will now have until 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23, to comment on the draft environmental impact statement for Puget Sound hatcheries. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced the public comment period extension Thursday. The agency decided to grant the extension in response to a formal request…. The draft report is available online at http://www.skagit.ws/NOAAsalmon. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)


Recent Study Confirms Lower Reproductive Success For Hatchery Fish- More Research Needed

From the Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin….Science continues to find that hatcheries, were probably not as good an idea as others.

Still, the one constant in all the studies reviewed by researchers from Oregon State University and NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center is that these programs result in lower reproductive success of fish whose early life begins in a hatchery.

“One important finding of this study is how consistent the results were across different systems. There has been a tendency to view each study’s results in isolation, but when you combine them all together the pattern of reduced reproductive success across all the studies is pretty clear,” said Michael Ford, co-author of the study and director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s Conservation Biology Division in Seattle…”

Read the rest of the story at



Study: Hatcheries Can Disrupt Steelhead Navigation – Earthfix/AP

Hmmm. more bad news on hatchery fish. Obviously more work needs to be done to validate these findings.

A new study suggests steelhead trout can have trouble using the Earth’s magnetic field to navigate if they were raised in a hatchery, where the field may be distorted by iron pipes. Scientists at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center raised two sets of fish: one outside the hatchery with a natural magnetic field, and one inside the hatchery where the field was distorted. Fish raised outside the hatchery oriented themselves to changes in the magnetic field, but fish raised in the hatchery’s distorted magnetic field did not. (Associated Press)


Lawsuits Could Lead To Changes At Fish Hatcheries – KPLU.org

Looks like it’s time to re-evaluate the value of hatcheries.

People on the West Coast have counted on fish hatcheries for more than a century to help rebuild populations of salmon and steelhead and bring them to a level where government would no longer need to regulate fisheries. But hatcheries have thus far failed to resurrect wild fish runs and artificially bred fish have come to dominate rivers. Critics say their influx harms wild salmon and masks the fact that wild populations are barely hanging on. Now, hatcheries are facing court challenges in Oregon, California and Washington state — though state and federal officials say they are already working to address the problems they cause.


Lawsuits Put NW Fish Hatcheries In The Crosshairs – Earthfix

A string of lawsuits around the region highlights a groundswell of opposition to the practice of raising salmon and steelhead in hatcheries to then be released into the wild. Wild fish supporters argue that hatcheries harm wild fish populations and that governmental agencies charged with protecting salmon and steelhead under the Endangered Species Act are in fact violating the Act in some instances by releasing hatchery-raised fish to intermingle with the wild ones. Ashley Ahearn reports.


Tribal hatchery transports first fish of fall to Elwha tributaries – PDN

Report on the salmon returns this year on the Elwha. Good news here:
A number of salmon are getting a helping hand to two of the larger tributaries of the Elwha River from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Fish Hatchery, where fish are taking refuge from increased sediment loads coursing down the river in the wake of dam removal. Some 300 coho and a handful of chum already have made their way to the tribal hatchery and the state rearing channel — enough to preserve this year’s run. Jeremy Schwartz reports.

Read the rest of the story at the link below:


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New Research: Hatchery Salmon Posing Problems For Wild Stocks

As if we need more damning research into the problems of hatchery stocks, as our Jefferson County Commissioners continue to fight the WA State Dept of Ecology on net pens in our county waters.

A special issue in the journal Environmental Biology of Fishes looks at how hatcheries are affecting wild fish populations. Research for the issue came from scientists around the Pacific Ocean – from Japan to California. One of the major findings: hatchery fish may be outcompeting wild fish for food in the Bering Sea.


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