Steelhead Country – The Hatchery Fix

As anglers began flocking to Steelhead Country in the 1950s, the Washington Department of Fisheries and other agencies saw industrial-scale fish farming through hatcheries as the answer to rapidly increasing harvest. Selecting a fast-growing, early-returning stock of steelhead from the infamous Chambers Creek for mass production across the region, the agencies sought to enhance the native stocks and increase overall returns.

They were successful, at first. But over decades as increasing hatchery plants of Chambers Creek steelhead failed to reverse diminishing returns and heavy harvest decimated early-returning wild steelhead, both anglers and scientists began to wonder: could a fish raised on food pellets in a concrete tank ever compare with the resilient wild steelhead?

2 thoughts on “Steelhead Country – The Hatchery Fix

  1. Meanwhile, in British Atlantic Salmon Country….

    The Good Guys, first –

    The Pro-Hatchery Early Hominids and Kill Anything that So Much as Ever Looked at a Smolt, second (ten comments – scratches and shakes head, sighs…) in a response to the above on the same Trust’s Facebook page –

    It’s not merely big bad hatcheries (and open-cage salmon farms) that are killing off Atlantic salmon, of course, it’s Climate and Ocean Warming , but just mention this to many of our “So few Fish [they use upper case for their salmon] left in British rivers, I’m off to Iceland / the Kola!” [and taking my money and any desire to improve things at home with me] now fast-dwindling Better Salmon Sorts, and they’ll forget their fishy differences and set their “He’s nothing but little bunnyhugging bleeding heart Greta!” political and media attack-dogs on you!

    All of this noise as salmon continue to go go down the pan……….

    PS – Something salmon-related on BBC radio this past weekend – wild and farmed salmon. “Enjoy…”.

    PPS – That – what was it? – 3 (?) returned steelhead for 200,000 smolts in the above film – Stephen King and John Carpenter had nothing on this nightmare.

  2. Pingback: A Review of Hatchery Reform Science In Washington State - Moldy Chum

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