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The time to review this pratice is now. There are many reasons that hatcheries are counter productive to salmon recovery. This practice is too expensive & a very real threat to the remaining wild genetics that exist. The fact is you NEED wild fish to "refresh" the stale genetics of hatchery fish. By adding all these hatchery fish on top of the remaining wild fish you are reducing the survival rate of the wild fish. The mixing of genetics between wild and hatchery is also very serious threat to the long term survival of salmon. Hatchery fish don't have the survival skills and genetics to survive that the wild fish have.
This giant industrial fish complex is expensive and gives us a poor substitute for wild fish. The amount af money spent every year on this model of mitigation would be much better spent on habitat restoration. Look at a local example, the Mollala River, there was less than a 1,000 winter steelhead spawning when the hatchery fish in the system annually. Since the practice has been stopped the rate of wild reprduction has jumped to around 3,500 annually. All in the space of just a few years (generations), wild fish can come back if we give them the chance. We need to get off the crutch of hatcheries and really take a look at how we can use the vast amount of resources that are spent on hatcheries, barging them around dams and all of these other mitigation techniques, and look to spend this money on habitat for wild, self sustaining fish populations. Look at all the depressed populations along the lower Columbia river where dams don't have any role in limiting the fish populations, I believe habitat and wild fish should be the focus of recovery efforts. All these "fish breaucrats" have their budgets on the line and their opinions reflect the desire to protect budgets, jobs and this industrial and EXPENSIVE model.
posted 3 years ago
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