Managed Annihilation


Active Member
New publication by Jim Lihatowich.

Excellent, thanks. a lot of reading ahead.

The conclusions summarized by the author are as follows: [italics mine as an indication of quotation.]
starting page 31.


At this point of the unfinished story, I want to summarize the salient issues raised by this manuscript.

1. In the early years of the study of salmon, Spencer Baird offered hatcheries as a substitute for conservation. Those of us who have studied the history of the use of hatcheries in salmon management, know the use of hatcheries does not serve the purposes of conservation.

2. Individual salmon populations thrive based on their healthy ecological relationships and biological makeup. The use of human-defined management units often composed of several populations and mix-stock fisheries create a threat to wild salmon and steelhead and must be eliminated or neutralized. The best approach for management/conservation must focus on the individual salmon populations.

3. Hatcheries are a threat to wild salmon and steelhead conservation. All hatcheries that cannot convincingly demonstrate they are not a threat must be closed. Several sources of hatchery impact on wild populations were mentioned in this manuscript. All impacts must be evaluated to determine, if a hatchery is to remain open.

4. Today the large industrial production system (hatcheries) gives the appearance that something is being done to halt the decline in salmon abundance. It hides the fact that hatcheries have been and continue to be a key component in managed annihilation.

5. The fine-grained approach to salmon and steelhead management will result in additional costs to agencies. Savings from the closure of ineffective hatcheries should be applied to the additional costs associated with fine-grained management.

6. The three assumptions of the current conceptual foundation result from the extension of Baird’s hatchery myth into current management planning and implementation. (Shown on page 19.)

7. Shifting baselines rob us of our remembrance of the past and makes us comfortable with the current hatchery myth and its consequences

8. Several independent science panels have reviewed hatchery programs and developed recommendations for improvement. Very little change has occurred because information that is contrary to the hatchery myth is ignored. Salmon managers must begin to use the recommendations of the science panels.

9. Hatchery accountability has been ignored and that must be corrected. First the ecological cost of hatcheries must be included in all cost/benefit analyses of hatchery performance. Second the concept of hatchery mitigation for the effects of dams needs a thorough evaluation. In terms of salmon abundance, how much has hatchery mitigation cost the Pacific Northwest.

10. Hatcheries rob the salmon of their evolutionary legacy – the natural ecological processes and experiences that create the wild salmon’s natural-restorative characteristics.

11. American Fisheries Society should take the leadership role and reevaluate its strong ties to fish culture and economics.

12. Current fish and wildlife agencies must act to create a major overhaul of their agency and that action may come from outside the institution. "

Chris Johnson

Active Member
To understand why it’s important for salmon management to focus on the individual population, we need to start with the salmon’s strong attachment to its natal stream reach or tributary. The salmon’s return to the to the same stream to spawn generation after generation imparts a fittedness between salmon and the landscapes they inhabit.105 It is the well-spring of important attributes of genetic and life history diversity. The individual population and its home stream are what management should be trying to protect and nurture. The fine-grained approach to management also recognizes that: Species [and salmon populations] do not exist in a vacuum, and any [valid] definition of biodiversity must include the ecological complexes in which the organisms naturally occur and the ways in which they interact with one another and their surroundings.106 Barry Lopez tells us that diversity of all kinds is important for fundamental reasons: Diversity is a condition necessary for life. Diversity creates the biological tensioning that makes life in general vigorous and sustainable. It’s diversity that ensures perpetuity. The loss of diversity, on the other hand, threatens all life with extinction.10

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