Hatch-22: The Problem with the Pacific Salmon Resurgence

More salmon but more of them are of hatchery origin

The proportion of hatchery versus wild Pacific salmon has risen to 1 in 5 with an overall production of 5 billion smolts produced annually, up from just 500 million in 1970. There are problems which stem from this. For imperiled salmon, the competition and genetic implications from these hatchery fish can be profound and effect the survivability of the runs which face the highest risk.

Hatch-22: The Problem with the Pacific Salmon Resurgence.
By Bruce Barcott – AlterNet

Federal biologists say that cutting hatchery production could help protect wild salmon

It is an argument for removing dams as well.

For many years biologists have known that hatchery fish effect the fitness of wild fish through competition and interbreeding. Hatchery fish don’t have the selective pressures that wild fish do so are less fit to survive in the wild. Because of this, when hatchery fish breed with wild fish the progeny are less suited to survive in the wild affecting the overall survival of wild fish.

Hatchery fish are also larger and more aggressive than wild fish and compete with them for food further limiting the success of wild fish. Being more aggressive makes hatchery fish more vulnerable to predators, a trait that you don’t want to transfer to wild fish. Hatchery fish also stray more so they can interbreed with runs which are managed to be exclusively wild such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

In the case of steelhead, hatchery fish virtually flood the habitat with stray fish, a situation that almost ensures that hatchery fish will interbreed with wild fish in places where it is not intended.

I think the report mentioned is more of an argument for removing dams than it is for reducing hatchery production because, due to the impacts of lower numbers of fish in the short term like economic and biological impacts, you can’t reduce hatchery production without increasing the success of wild fish reproduction. The only way to increase wild fish production to such a degree will be to remove dams.

Federal biologists say that cutting hatchery production could help protect wild salmon
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian

Posted in endangered species act, Fish. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Federal biologists say that cutting hatchery production could help protect wild salmon

Judge faults gov’t plan to save Pacific NW salmon

U.S. District Court Judge James A. Redden tells Federal Government to come up with backup plan to breach dams.

Hatchery Chinook Salmon in the South Fork Salmon River.  
© Ken Cole

Hatchery Chinook Salmon in the South Fork Salmon River. © Ken Cole

Judge faults gov’t plan to save Pacific NW salmon
Associated Press

The four dams on the lower Snake River, Lower Granite Dam, Little Goose Dam, Lower Monumental Dam, and Ice Harbor Dam, were originally built for navigation purposes so that Lewiston Idaho could become a sea port. The river provides subsidized transportation for the Palouse region’s wheat and other products but there are other options for them including the existing rail system. The dams don’t generate much in the way of electricity either and when they generate the most, during spring runoff, the demand isn’t at its high as it would be during the heat of the summer when people use it for air conditioning. Because of this the Bonneville Power Administration sells it at very low rates to aluminum smelters on the Columbia River. During the Enron contrived “power crisis” the subsidized electricity was re-sold at a profit by the aluminum smelters instead of letting water pass over the spillways to benefit salmon during the low water year.

The dams disrupt many natural conditions on the river and kill juvenile fish on their downstream migration. Their impact on returning adult salmon is lower but they do cause issues by raising the temperature which diverts a number of Idaho bound late summer, early fall-run steelhead into cooler rivers like the Deschutes River in Oregon.

Several Native American tribes, Idaho, Montana and Washington have engaged in a collaborative process in an attempt at saving the dams but the Spokane and Nez Perce Tribes and are siding with the environmental groups.

Todd True, attorney for the legal group Earthjustice, had this to say about the collaborative process being utilized to come up with a solution.

“Salmon don’t swim in collaboration,” Todd True said. “They won’t return in greater numbers because of a new collaboration — no matter how sincere.”

Silent Fall: B.C.’s vanishing wild salmon means trouble for all

This will certainly take down the great bears and orca

The irony is that B.C. did not dam its salmon streams like the United States did.

Silent Fall. Posted By: Chris Genovali. B.C.’s vanishing wild salmon means trouble for all. Monday Magazine.

. . . more Saving Wild Salmon, in Hopes of Saving the Orca. New York Times. By Cornelia Dean.

The culprit may the infestation of salmon farms the B.C. government has allowed to crop up spreading disease and parasites.

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Salmon are in trouble in Puget Sound too, and the orca there are perishing. These orca are not just hungry, but full of toxic chemicals.

Orcas are a call to action on Puget Sound cleanup. We have to act now to protect and clean up the waters in and around Puget Sound before all of the orcas are lost forever.” By David Dicks. Special to The Seattle Times

Indian tribes make a billion dollar deal on salmon. Idaho’s tribes did not participate

Salmon Farming May Doom Wild Populations, Study Says

Salmon Farming May Doom Wild Populations, Study Says. By Juliet Eilperin and Marc Kaufman. Washington Post Staff Writers.

Salmon farms spread disease and sea lice among wild populations.