Puyallup Tribe...To Save Steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by FinLuver, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    I think brood stock programs are great. I think (if brood selection is done carefully) they offer a real opportunity to protect the local stocks.

    For populations to be healthy, you need diversity. And for crap sake, select for large size while your are at it.
    Paul Huffman likes this.
  3. jake-e-boy

    jake-e-boy No mas

    gotta love the hatchery managers comment regarding declining returns, "No one is sure why steelhead populations in the Puyallup and the rest of South Sound have dropped so much in recent years,"

    srsly? just a guess but maybe habitat, harvest, hatcheries, hydroelectric dams. Too lazy to look, but guessing before the brood stock program it was chamber creek smolts they were planting?
    kamishak steve likes this.
  4. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

    "I think brood stock programs are great. I think (if brood selection is done carefully) they offer a real opportunity to protect the local stocks.

    For populations to be healthy, you need diversity. And for crap sake, select for large size while your are at it."

    David Dalan...then it's safe to say you are "pro-hatchery" fish?

    (I didn't see a "winky face...not sure if you are being serious)
  5. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Everyone is pro hatchery...whether they admit it or not ;). The genie's been out of the bottle way too long now and a healthy percentage of those "wild fish" hero shots have hatchery DNA in them. Habitat loss is likely as big a factor as anything else for the Puyallup and Green. I hope the Puyallup tribe effort is successful, but the history of like efforts on the Green were, sadly, not able to turn the charts trend line around.
    Don Freeman likes this.
  6. PT

    PT Physhicist

    Only thing the Puyallup's are interested in is making money from the casino and fighting with the sportfishermen (if you can call them that). I don't blame them for either.
    doublespey likes this.
  7. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    I am neither pro or con. They (hatcheries) are a tool in the toolbox. In terms of brood programs, if they are used to prevent a unique population from winking out of existence (Redfish lake sockeye for example), I think they are merited. I do not agree with doing nothing.

    And in places where large numbers of hatchery steelhead make sense, why not select for "Godzilla" sized fish. Or even better, for biters.
    Paul Huffman and doublespey like this.
  8. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Tried to reply, it would not work. MY reply is above :)
  9. plecoptera419

    plecoptera419 Member

    In the case of salmon hatcheries at least, it seems we could eliminate some if not all of the hatchery versus wild fish debate if we were to revamp our hatchery systems to use wild fish for our hatchery stock. I'm not so sure it is a viable alternative with steelhead unless they are able to survive the egg/sperm taking process and return to the salt. It seems it could work with salmon since they are going to their death anyway. Thoughts?
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    The Puyallup and Muckleshoot Tribes decided to take action about the declining trend of steelhead throughout Puget Sound. The POST study shows that most sonic tagged steelhead smolts leaving PS rivers don't make it to the Straits, or at least they are not detected passing by. And the further south in the Sound the smolts originate from, the poorer the apparent survival. The enhancement effort increases the number of smolts from wild parents entering the Sound. Applying the low smolt to adult survival rate to more smolts should increase the total number of adults that result from each brood. At best, it's likely a stopgap measure, but it may make a difference. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  11. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    Why not postulate that sonic tags make those fish easier for predators with lateral lines to find them?

    I think the generalization that everyone is for hatcheries is about as safe a bet as we would are all against dying. Although potentially true, there are numerous counter points to consider.

    If a river system has been essentially void of wild steelhead then a hatchery for sports harvest and sustainence may be an option to consider.

    If a rivers wild population is declining but clinging on, closure and recovery efforts would be my preferred option.
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  12. TomB

    TomB Active Member

    This (and all other supplementation programs) assume that populations are spawner-limited--in other words, production of smolts and thus adults in subsequent generations will increase if we get more spawners back because we are not fully seeding the habitat. The problem with this assumption is that it is rarely (and possibly never in planning supplementation programs) tested. To do so requires accurate adult and smolt estimates linked by age structure (do we can figure out how many adults produced how many smolts), collected over a number of years at the same (basin wide) spatial scale. This allows us to determine at what point the positive relationship between the two flattens out and increasing spawner abundance no longer results in more smolts produced. The few places where this has been done have revealed surprising results. Fewer spawners than most of us would imagine are needed to seed freshwater habitat. That isn't to say that we should set low targets such as minimum seeding as our escapement goals, only that we may not see increased smolt and adult production if we get more spawners back. I am sure that I will get flamed for saying this because it sounds nice to say that all we need to do is get more spawners back to perpetuate a larger population, regardless of whether it has any basis in fact. In cases where full seeding is occurring, supplementation programs as a way to recover populations are about as pointless and wasteful a use of money as one could invent. Of course this assumes there is no hidden secondary purpose of the program--like harvest augmentation, which these programs conveniently do very well on the side, all the time justifying their existence based on wild recovery. Our money would be better spent increasing productivity and capacity of habitat and reducing the density independent mortality that is limiting adult abundance (riverine migration and ocean; natural and unnatural) to the extent possible. And finally, I would add that if we wish to identify the places that might benefit from supplementation programs, we need to invest the money up front on the good quality population monitoring and analysis work that will allow us to do so. People may choke at the cost, but it is alot cheaper to get a bit of good data and analysis done up front than to spend millions in fixed costs and millions more in annual costs on a hatchery that fulfills a nice idea on paper, but is based on a false premise and does no good for recovery.
    Tyler Sadowski and Chris Johnson like this.
  13. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

    Interesting Ed... "If a river system has been essentially void of wild steelhead then a hatchery for sports harvest and sustainence may be an option to consider. "

    I know of a river where both forks at one time had "wild" winter steelhead. At some point, one fork (the south) went devoid of all winter fish. The powers involved, decided to put take brood from the north fork and plant both forks (more so on the south fork than the north fork) with hatchery fish for harvest. The powers then decide, that the brood program on the north fork be eliminated, but not on the south fork. Seems, the south fork now will take its "wild" brood from the south fork only - which has now rebounded and sustaining itself naturally.

    The north fork numbers are rising greatly (so "they" say) from 8000-9000 fish average; to the last couple of years 11,000-14,000 fish. Granted, I say that the stopping of hatchery plants is not the sole reason for the explosion; there have been other factors that can and could be attributed...and for the sake of this discussion, is not why I mention it; as it could be left for another forum topic.

    The south fork NOW has a sustained "wild" breeding population and as mentioned, they get their brood fish for hatchery production.

    My question is, do they now close down ALL winter steelhead hatchery production, open it up for harvest on "wild" fish, or only allow C&R on the entire river system?
  14. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member


    It's uncommon for a steelhead population to become spawner limited, but with White River escapements falling to between 200 and 300 spawners, it may have fallen into that level. So the Tribes' effort is to try and keep that from being the limiting factor. As you are no doubt aware, Puget Sound steelhead populations are limited mainly by marine survival, with early marine survival possibly being of greatest concern.

    Smalma posted a simple model a couple weeks back how marine survival can depress a river's carrying capacity - a concept that wasn't intuitive to most readers. When marine survival is so low that spawning populations cannot replace themselves, resultant spawning populations decline to the point where they no longer fully seed the freshwater habitat, further limiting total productivity after all the density dependent mortality is subtracted.

    Ordinarily a wild broodstock program funcitons mainly to provide additional harvestable fish, but in cases where marine survival sufficiently depresses a population, it can be a lifeline link to avoiding extinction in the manner of the captive condor program. The south Puget Sound steelhead populations are in really bad shape.

    Tyler Sadowski and Chris Johnson like this.
  15. TomB

    TomB Active Member

    I don't disagree with anything you have said below. My main point probably got lost in my extended rant. My main point is that if we are going to use supplementation programs, we should at the very least have data suggesting that the limiting factor they address, is indeed limiting for the population in question. I agree that particularly for some south puget sound stocks, full seeding may not have occurred in several years between 1990 and now. It is just appalling to me that nobody ever bothered to monitor the populations in a rigorous manner to determine if this was the case.

    To address your last point below, I would argue that steelhead, much more than other salmon species, are buffered against declines in marine survival, and particularly over short (in the evolutionary sense) time scales, because of their ability to maintain resident freshwater populations. The condor example applied to salmon makes a great case for the snake river sockeye programs, but I would argue we just don't have the data to say whether such programs were or are necessary for puget sound steelhead.

    Finally, to address Smalma's post, I couldn't agree more! I am currently working on a scientific publication on that very subject, which I can share with this group when it is done. The simple mechanism for reduced adult steelhead carrying capacity is that the number of smolts per spawner needed to replace a spawner increases when smolt to adult survival decreases--from 4, when marine survival is 25% to 50 when marine survival is 2% (this is probably what Smalma said but I didn't see his post). The only way this level of productivity can occur is if density dependent mortality is reduced by having fewer spawners. A less intuitive way capacity may be reduced, however, is through clustering of adult spawners at low abundance, thereby leaving some rearing habitat vacant. This may be a good thing if adults cluster proportional to habitat quality (more fish in better habitat), but is progressively more serious the more adult distribution deviates from an ideal free distribution (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ideal_free_distribution).

    Also, don't mean to sound lecture-y pointing out things you already know---just figure that if we are to have a discussion on here, I might as well provide enough info for the rest of the readers to see what we are talking about! Hope you are doing well!


    Chris Johnson likes this.
  16. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    you cannot select for specific traits if you want diversity.
    Jason Rolfe likes this.
  17. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    a broodstock program (whether the puyallup or on hood canal) used as a backstop against extinction is far different than broodstock programs used for harvestable fish (non-selective gillnets get 50%). the non-harvest based programs are used to wait out factors that will hopefully change (marine survival, habitat) and allow wild fish to once again be able to support themselves. they really can only be judged as successful until the problems are fixed or resolved and wild fish once again thrive. they are not meant to be permanent programs to provide fish for anglers/netters to turn into turds.

    wild broodstock are just the latest hail-mary for the pro-hatchery folks.
  18. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Well fine, deflate my dreams of 50# a runs on the GR.
  19. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Dreams... hell those are hallucinations. Pretty soon we'll all be thankful for a 8 lb hatchery stud!
  20. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    *inserts fingers in ears*

    la la la la la la, I can't hear you!
    Paul Huffman and FinLuver like this.

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