I am not opposed to hatcheries completely they certainly have their place. I just don't understand the reluctance to move away from the hatchery model, it's not like it's providing us with great fishing opportunities for steelhead in Puget sound rivers. I'd love to hear some alternatives, I'm pretty open minded, I just feel like we need to get off the dime and do something. It feels like a funeral march right now.
I've always been curious about the concept of a "designer hatchery". One that moves away from mass producing low-quality specimens in concrete raceways and tries to produce fewer, but higher-quality broodstock specimens in a more "natural" environment. Do away with concrete raceways and create some sort of miniature stream environment with dynamic flow/structure, some amount of natural food sources supplemented by artificial feed...something that produces smolts that are better suited to what really exists in nature while still maintaining some of the advantages of "controlling" the reproduction process. Not sure if anything like this exists in the anadromous fish world or not. It's pretty utopian and maybe the costs would be so astronomical that it just couldn't be done.