Hatchery strays deplete wild steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Chris Johnson, Dec 8, 2010.

  1. agreed! I think commercial harvest shutdown is the best place to start, followed with more spawning habitat restortion. No more 1/2 million dollar log jam construction in the main stem of rivers, lets think smaller tribs and feeder streams where logging and development have taken a toll, and start reducing siltation, scour, and create some deeper pools that hold water even in the warmest summers! Planting more native vegetation to shade and cool the water and help shade out japanese knotweed and reed canary grass would be the next step after some structure is created. Salmonids have proven very resilient, and if they actually had places to spawn and rear as young we would start to see some positive results
  2. Oddly enough, the Chambers creek stocks have been a relative savior of wild fish. While early run components have been wiped out, the chambers creek fish return early and have a *very* small amount of success spawning in the wild. Places that integrated broodstocks do have some issues related to W/H matings reducing wild fitness. How much I don't know. But if you want to learn more, take a look at the HSRG. You'll learn the differences and it should give you a clearer picture on why integrated programs are pretty bad overall, and segregated programs aren't quite as bad (for wild fish).
  3. As far as I am concerned this is a red herring used to deflect the real problem. Over harvest of wild fish by all involved.

    No commercial, ceremonial, no C&R, NO fishing on wild stocks in any conceivable manner is what is needed.

    Remove those factors out of the studies and then re-evaluate. Get the politics out of the equation!

    All research is funded by someone who has an interest in the results and that is a fact. That is the reason for conflicting results and opinions. Statistics can be massaged and manipulated to create nearly any point of view, that is statistics 101!

    Hatchery fish are a smoke screen! Yes they may have an adverse effect but not nearly what over harvest does to the runs. It is a scam! Focus on hatchery fish and ignore the over harvest. It has been going on for a long time and people keep buying into the BS! "The hatchery fish are the devil" but over harvest is pushed down and ignored or pushed in the back ground.

    The simple fact is, if wild fish are continually targetted and removed from the system then they will go away.

  4. Hatcheries aren't a red herring as much as they are the actual problem. I fail to see one positive effect from hatcheries on wild fish populations. There just isn't one.

    Now in the case of harvest, which every one loves to hate. Hatcheries are the main cause/ excuse for that.

    W/o hatcheries, the Skagits would not be netting the Skagit as we speak. It is easy to justify the elimination of those hatchery fish by non-descriminant nets. It's pretty hard to justify netting listed fish that are not projected to meet minimum escapement. No hatchery = no nets.

    There are hatchery fish targeting net fisheries all over the state that kill wild fish from the Columbia to the OP to the PS. Without the hatcheries those nets go away. This is really fucking simple, people, if you do your homework and put the fish first. If you don't like the nets, eliminate the hatcheries.

    The one clear exception is the OP wild fish native netting (because they sometimes meet escapement). Out of curiosity, does anyone know how many brats come back to the Quinalt? That's a monstrosity of piss poor fish management. Given that we have no idea of the interaction or effects of brat.'s on wild fish once they hit salt water, it's important to compare nubers. Is there any logical reason to believe that those fish aren't eliminating wild fish from other rivers once they hit the salt. I have spoken with many bio.'s. None of them know and most won't speak to it. Overall, we manage fisheries as thogh there is no efffect.

    Often I hear people say, "hatcheries have there place in recovery" or something to that effect. I honestly have no idea what the fuck that place is. Eliminate nates when they spawn? Creating the opportunity for gill net fisheries? Create opportunities for sport angling with associated C&R mortalities? They don't bring back runs.....ever. What is their role?

    Oh and they are really expensive.

    Please excuse my French. I'm just constantly baffled by the shear stupidity represented by steelhead hatcheries. They have no place. They have no time. They are stupid. Their supporters clearly don't care enough to read.

    Go Sox,
  5. As others have noted, hatcheries do three things that are pretty obvious. First, because they use a limited number of parents, far fewer than would be spawning naturally, there is less genetic diversity (fewer alleles = fewer alternative ways of making a protein) among hatchery fish. Second, the process of selecting brood stock is relatively random, right place and right time = spawning regardless of the qualities that would be successful in the wild. For pair-spawning fish like salmonids in wild, there is substantial competition for the right to mate and the fish with the better combination of alleles should spawn in the better locations with better mates. Third, the types of selective pressure (who lives/dies, grows well/grows poorly) on genetically-inherited traits is hugely different in a hatchery vs. a wild environment. In theory, a population of wild smolts should have a) more genetic options (more genetic diversity) to fluctuating environments, b) better combinations of alleles, and c) better alleles for a wild environment. And they will have more experience (more appropriate behaviors) in the river and at sea.

    OMJ asked if there were a way that being in a hatchery may change a fish's genes; there isn't a known mechanism for that but being in a hatchery may change how genes are controlled (turned on or off) a topic called epigenetics. Just because a cell has a specific gene does not mean that the gene will be turned on (used for the production of a specific protein). For example, a muscle cell has the gene for making digestive enzymes, but that gene is turned off. There is growing evidence that the environment plays a significant role in determining which genes are turned on or off and once the switch is flipped, it may remain flipped for several generations. It is reasonable to expect that the hatchery environment may switch on (or off) a very different set of genes than does the natural environment. And these changes may echo over several generations even if a hatchery fish does try to spawn in the wild. This could explain the very poor success of the offspring of hatchery x hatchery or hatchery x wild fish in the wild, even if the alleles are the same as a wild x wild fish.

  6. Then another question begs to be asked............Why do the hatchery dogs appear to be populating the rivers of Chile and creating runs that never existed? Can hatchery fish clean up the genes and revert back to wild if left alone by man over a period of time?
  7. Invasive species, which is what the salmon and steelhead and brown trout are in Chile and Argentine, often take multiple rounds of introductions (release, die-off, repeat) until they are finally successfully established. Once they reach critical mass, they should be self-sustaining. Here are some possible factors. There are no significant anadromous fishes in those rivers, therefore little competition for resources (one wonders about competition in the ocean...). This means that even a mediocre fish is likely survive. Second, those rivers are relatively pristine, some ranching and logging, but not much hydropower; again, even a mediocre fish is likely to survive. Third, there has been a huge investment in pen-reared salmonids in Chile, Atlantic salmon, steelhead, and chinook; we know there are escapes. By chance some of the escapes were successful. And, whatever epigenetic switches are flipped in one generation of hatchery exposure, their effects will wear off, if only because those individuals who can access the genes that best enable them to survive will leave more offspring and because the epigenetic effects are not permanent. More speculation on my part than experience with the ecology / evolution of these South American invaders.

  8. in chile escaped fish in relatively large numbers are returning to nearby rivers and spawning. Those progeny are definitely well adapted to those rivers now, as is plain to see from the succss of the fishing down there. Nature finds a way to adapt organisms to the environment.Little commercial fishing pressure on these fish maximizes returns to the rivers, and lack of predation has definitely helped keep those spawning fish relatively safe once in fresh water.
    In time, the runs that return now will become even more genetically distinct from each other, and you will definitely see a diversification of alleles that allow these fish to perform best in their natal sreams. Comparing this occurrence to what is happenin with our steelhead and salmon is difficult, because there is no native salmonid displacement occurring from these fish entering the river systems. I am not educated enough on the native fish in the rivers there to comment on overall negative impact to the ecosystem in general, but I bet that opportunistic predators learned quickly how easy half dead salmon are to utilize as food, and are now changing thousands of year old behavior patterns to take advantage.
    Since there are so many different salmonids down there now, those best suited for each river are prevailing, while those less fit are present in far fewer numbers or abesnt from the system all together. Its really interesting to compare what rivers these stray origiated fish are returning to, and why they return to these, and not other rivers. I would LOVE to do some serious research there to determine exactly what it is that is drivingthis selection

    I am most curious to know the migration paths of these south american fish. Are they migrating NORTH to mingle with their brethren? Or more likely are they utilizing cold southern currents, more untouched by open ocean commercial fleets?
  9. the multiple round introduction/die off cycle is easily perpetuated by the destruction of the commercial net pen operations, cotinually releasing more fish to potentially find a river to call their own.
  10. This was CLASSIC... completely agree
  11. ok lets put this to bed

    wdfw has done genetic testing on just about every stream on the state and for the most part has found the wild fish to be at least mostly pure.. and this goes right along with what the science would suggest, that is that hatchery fish that spawn in the wild do not contribute much at all to the long term gene pool simply because their progeny do not survive...

    that beside the point the wild fish we have now is what we have to work with we cannot turn back the clock and take what little hatchery genetics that has creaped into the wild gene pool out. Therefore we must treat our current wild stock as though they were pure..

    with that in mind we need to reduce the affects of hatchery fish that spawn in the wild by keeping them from spawning in the wild.
  12. This statement doesn't make sense. By that definition the rivers here were "relatively pristine" a hundred years ago. Does that mean our native runs were therefore mediocre? Is that why they've been devastated over the years?

    This is all really interesting, and leaves me wondering if I should abandon fishing for anadromous fish.
  13. This is all really interesting, and leaves me wondering if I should abandon fishing for anadromous fish.

    I think I'll take up gardening,I can use my rods for bean poles,and no worries if the waders leak!
  14. No, Steve, in a river (and ocean) where you face little competition for food, for safe places to hide from predators, for spawning sites, for mates, being O.K. genetically, is good enough to produce offspring. A hundred years ago, with the rivers filled to the brim with other fish (think of what the lower rivers looked like during the pink run two years ago) with their own mix of alleles, being O.K. wouldn't be good enough. The better allele combinations are the ones that spawn in the best locations (the ones that don't suffer from silting or erosion), produce offspring that are efficient in finding food and hiding from predators, that smolt at the appropriate size and head out to sea at the best time, that survive and thrive in the open ocean, and returns to produce their own offspring. The salmonids in the rivers of Chile and Argentine will evolve, just as ours have, to develop the mix of alleles that enhances survival, growth, and reproduction in individual river systems.

    If you abandon fishing for anadromous fish, I will happily take your rods and save you from using them to grow pole beans......

  15. I don't agree with this statement. I've read many reports and literature regarding this specifically and they all come to the same conclusion. The chambers fish were introduced into systems where the early Wild return (Nov - Dec) was in decline and struggling. The chamber fish were introduced specifically to maintain regulations for early retention of fish. This resulted in an increase in fishing pressure on these systems during the early run. The downside was the added pressure on these systems also adversly affected the already struggling early native runs. From everything I've read the WDFW admits this fully and makes the simple statement that the early runs will continue to receive the Chambers Creek fish so that the sport fishing community can have a kill season. This is mainly focused on West OP rivers.

    I have to admit, my opinions I've developed are solely from the information that I've dug out and read. I don't claim to know these things first hand. Still, every piece of literature I've come across on this specific item has made the same conclusion. If there are other more convincing reports/studies then I'd be interested in reading them.

    It appears that there is a strong requirement put on the WDFW to have regulations that allow retention of salmon/steelhead. The dept uses the Hatchery fish as a means to provide this. The problem is that the result is added pressure on the struggling native population. Setting CNR seasons increases illegal retention which is not easily enforced. I don't envy the WDFW commission with the conflicting constraints that they are tasked with. Baiscally, protect the fish and maintain retention regulations so people will buy licenses.

    There are not any easy answers. I think we all would be surprised at the actual numbers of fish that the Commercial community, tribe communities, and sport community kill each year. I would like to say that obviously we need to improve logging and development practices. We need to stop river dredging as a means to prevent flooding (which has shown to increase flooding due to the gravel and sand accumulation in the mouths). We need to stop commercial and tribe fishing. We need to impose all CNR fishing. However, I know that it isn't so easy to tell thousands of people that their livelyhood is being taken away so we can study the effects on the return of wild andronomous fish.

    Geez... I didn't mean to carry on like that.
  16. The article is propaganda. You can tell that simply by looking at the conspiracy theory in the last paragraph concerning revenue and hatcheries.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Without Hatcheries, you will not be fishing for steelhead period. You'll notice now when nates are in the sky that you can't wet a line at all.

    The rivers have been rip-wrapped, the watersheds are developed and logged.

    I personally notice the salmon returns fluctuate in relation to winter flooding that wipes out the reds.

    Calling for a ban on hatcheries will not help wild fish and will only result in a total closure for steelhead fishing except for the OLP.
  17. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that the direct and indirect impacts of hatchery fish on wild fish populations will eventually cause the extinction of wild fish on rivers with hatcheries. Would this be an acceptable outcome to you as long as you could still fish for hatchery steelhead?

  18. so here is where the elwha restoration REALLY has a chance to contribute some AMZING scientific data towards the LEAVE EM ALONE theory of fisheries management. Lets extend the fishing ban to ten years, and see how wild runs bounce back. Not much to lose, EVERYRTHING to gain!
  19. Not seeing the conspiracy theory Bro.

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