I didn't find anything in the article but speculation and opinion.
The steelhead numbers in the Skagit this past season certainly appeared to be low but I have only personal experience to judge this with. I did see fish in the system and there very well could have been more arrive after the river closed.
I would like to see what the "official" response is as far as returning numbers of wild steelhead were to the Skagit.
While I have not seen the official escapement estimates word has it that the Skagit and many other Puget Sound systems saw modern day low escapements this past spring. The 2009 Skagit escapement will almost certainly be less than 3,000.
A quote from the article -
"...the magnitude of the failure is startling and should have managers raising serious questions about how to save Puget Sound wild steelhead before its too late."
What do you think the State should going about saving those wild steelhead?
A decade ago the "silver bullet" to say wild steelhead was advertized as wild fish release and now it seems it end hatchery programs. Harvest management issues have been aggressively addressed over the last 25 years and the state is well into hatchery reform yet the fish continue to slide towards the edge. At some point folks may have to face the fact that other factors are in play.
coming from an outisders prosepective.....I totally agree with this. shut em down for 10 or 20 years. The only problem i see with this is that some other species will be thrown into the fire and would eventually face the same fate.
Just a thought. If they are surviving when they hit the fresh water, and one of the theories is that thier demise is in the salt. I think that closing the rivers for 10-15 years will just divert people attention from the real problem. It will give people and the state an excuse to not look into the problem further. That being said, I would support closing the rivers, if the state was going to look further into why ocean survival is so poor.
While I don't disagree with the harmful impacts of hatcheries, the posting implies that hatcheries are the primary factor behind the reduced returns. As Curt mentions, there are other factors at play that should at least be mentioned.