Article Hatchery-Raised "Natural" Spawners

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by freestoneangler, Nov 24, 2012.

  1. Directly from the state WA so desperately seeks to emulate....

    Excerpt from Nov/Dec NWFF
    It goes against accepted fish management, but California is allowing hatchery coho salmon to spawn "naturally" in Salmon Creek. It's the fourth year for hatchery-to-natural salmon spawning in Sonoma County. State fish managers believe that hatchery coho spawning in streams will "establish natural mating patterns and subject offspring to natural selective pressures". That's a 180 degrees frum all other coastal wild fish recovery programs, wherein the emphasis in on confining hatchery spawners to eliminate competition with wild spawners in anadromous streams. Manfred Kittel, California Department of Fish and Game coho salmon recovery coordinator, says the "aggressive" action is necessary. "We are at a critical moment in the survival of the coho salmon on the California coast" he warns.

    Hatchery-raised natural spawners... hey if CA says it's the path forward, who are we to argue? :D
    Irafly likes this.

  2. Washington has been doing that for 50 years on the lower columbia tribs. Go to the Kalama or any other hatchery coho river and you'll see them spawning in the wild by the hundreds if not thousands well maybe 1000 yet one thing you almost never see is an unclipped adult. Why do you suppose that is????
  3. At considerable risk to my reputation I’ll pose the following question:
    Why is this an accepted technique for rehabilitating populations of mammals and Birds (Pandas, California Condors, Black Footed Ferrets…) but is considered sacrilegious in fisheries management, even when they use “brood stock” fish like they were doing on the Sol Duc? I know that the ‘fitness’ of their offspring is questionable, but I imagine the same thing is true of captive bread animals everywhere. I’ve never heard conservationists bitching about those damn ‘hatchery Condors!’
  4. I caught a coho with an extra fin just yesterday. A fluke?
  5. It isn't "sacriligeous" when rehabbing fish runs. The S. Fork Nooksack has a broodstock program for spring kings. The upper C tribs use hatcheries in their management under the current structure. The ESA allows for the use of hatcheries for depressed stocks. Certainly hatchery fish attempting to spawn in the wild is favored over no fish trying to spawn in the wild. To think of hatcheries as sacraligous is kind of silly given the amount of them we have.

    In the case of the Duc you have a river that generally meets escapement. There is no rehabilitation needed. In fact, if they weren't netted at the current rate we'd all feel really good about the run. Mining wild fish to create a hatchery fish that could then further reduce wild stocks by spawning wild wilds seems like an expensive way to move backwards.

    Hatcheries provide benefits. People get confused though when they mistake salmon for steelhead or healthy river systems/ runs with damaged and depressed runs. California is trying to use coho hatcheries for the same reason that Washington is on the N. Fork Nook for springers. When the population gets super low, the idea is to flood the gravel with fish even if they aren't as productive. This is a strategy more likely to be effective with some fish than others.

    Go Sox,
    stilly stalker likes this.

  6. It's certainly extremely rare in the Lower columbia except in the Sandy and the Wilamette, including the Clackamas..
    The reason that Washington's lower columbia coho are not a listed species is because there are not enough of them to make up a significant population therefore they are not "warranted for listing" in short as a population they are already extinct so what's the point in listing them, at least from the federal government's point of view.
  7. I do not agree.
  8. Where did hatchery fish come from. They aren't something grown in a petri dish. They all came from wild fish. So the desire to spawn is still in all the hatchery fish. So why get so upset when a hatchery brat tries to spawn with a wild fish.

    Just because it's parents were grown in a cement pond doesn't mean all their instincts are gone. They still run and hide when they see us humans.
    navajoe117 likes this.
  9. if they are same watershed broodstock Im less offended by the idea. What I do not want is skamania steel mixing with Stilliguamish fish, or Samish Coho mixing with NF Nooksack coho. etc etc etc. Preserving the adapted genetics of that river systemis of paramount importance
  10. They've been doing it a lot longer than 50 years on some of the lower columbia tribs. For salmon, at least, there's zero chance of recovering any true native genetics on rivers like the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis.

    Hatcheries shouldn't exist everywhere. But just getting rid of them won't miraculously bring back all the native fish in every watershed.
  11. The California coho experiment isn't the preferred alternative, but when bonafide native wild populations are down to so few in number as to be functionally extinct, the use of hatchery surrogates is sometimes the only feasible alternative left. Plus, coho are demonstrated to be the most "plastic-elastic" salmonids when it comes to adaptation to new nor changed environments. At least they are in WA. If they are also in CA, then the experiment has a high chance of resulting in a naturally reproducing and self-sustaining coho population if the habitat is suitable to coho. The quality of the habitat is the main issue IMO.

    "Hatcheries shouldn't exist everywhere. But just getting rid of them won't miraculously bring back all the native fish in every watershed."

    Very true, Flyborg.

  12. I think that in some cases eliminating hatchery plants has restored
    Runs without much other work... Examples like the Wind and South Toutle are prime examples.... When given a chance wild fish will do their thing.
  13. To quote Shakespeare, "AH, THERE IS THE RUB. We seldom give the much of a chance.
  14. exactly!!!!

    The reason i am so against hatchery fish and their use to restore wild runs well first of all it has never worked and secondly it fills us with the idea that we can have fish but not do the necessary work to have fish.. The whole salmon without rivers scenario laid out in James Lichatowich's book. That's a slippery slope we have seen too much of already.
  15. Netting the mating runs puts fish on the table, and money in the bank, for a few. It does little to help restore the runs. I do not have a lot of confidence that there will be a moratorium on nets, however.

  16. Lets pray the Elwha gets a chance to be purely wild in its recovery!!!!
    Bradley Miller and The Duke like this.
  17. Amen to that brother.
  18. The spring Chinook brood stock program has been going for about 20 yrs and the number of natural spawners has not increased significantly over that time. There are no fisheries on these fish (in US waters), sport or commercial. It amounts to little more than an expensive nutient enhancement program, and in my opinion, may well be hindering the recovery of the native stocks.

    Hatcheries give us something tagible that we can see and touch, and so we like them. But if you want to have healthy wild runs of fish, I don't believe they are the answer. We have been trying it for over 100 yrs. and it hasn't worked very well. With more than 400 million salmon and steelhead smolts released every year in the NW, we should be swimming in fish, but we're not. It's time for a paradigm shift, we must put our need for immediate gratification aside and try something else, before it's too late.

    P.S. I don't advocate for an end to hatcheries, they surely have their place, but not everywhere.
    shotgunner likes this.
  19. Hatcheries haven't worked very well at recovering wild fish stocks because that isn't how hatcheries have been programed or managed. Easily 99% of all hatchery production has been for the purpose of enhancing or supplementing fish harvest. And they've done that so well that hatchery harvest management has been responsible for the near extirpation, or complete extirpation, of numerous native wild populations. Hatcheries could be instrumental in fish recovery if they are dedicated to that purpose instead of harvest. However, that is a paradigm shift, and it's too early to conclude that it has been effective. But it has been done with Hood Canal summer chum. It is being done with Hood Canal steelhead. It is being done with HC chinook, but likely the wrong brood stock. Since these are new attempts, under a new paradigm, and not enough year classes of HC summer chum, for example, have returned yet. So it will still take some time to determine if the effort has been successful. There is no intrinsic practical reason why it can't be successful, but only results can inform that conclusion. And results take time.

    Brady Burmeister likes this.
  20. Actually, theres a 48 hr "ceremonial netting" window on S. forK Nooksack spring chinook. I used to do the surveys for that population, and if there were 30 TRUE S. fork fish coming back each year, that would be a big number. THEN, theres the riverine sockeye GENETICALLY distinct in population and IHN FREE, that the tribes wont agree to manage for, AND the run of summer steelhead in that river that may be 100 fish tops. THe Nookie has gotten bent over and molested by logging practices and extreme mis management.

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