hatcheries

Judge Reduces Hatchery Releases On Sandy River

Mar 18, 2014

A new court decision reduces the number of hatchery fish releases into Oregon's Sandy River this year.

The Sandy River Hatchery will be allowed to release 200,000 coho salmon this year. That's less than the 300,000 coho hatchery managers were planning to release.

Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, said in a statement that the reduction won't harm sport fishers.

Flickr Photo/USFWS Pacific

Pacific lamprey were once a major staple in Northwest tribes’ diets. The oils were a source of nutrition. Babies used lamprey tails as teething rings.

Now, as numbers decline, lamprey only make it to the table during ceremonies or special occasions. Washington biologists hope to turn those numbers around and in doing so, may create the world's first lamprey hatchery.

EarthFix Photo/Ashley Ahearn

Fish and wildlife departments in Oregon, Washington and Idaho release millions of hatchery-raised salmon and steelhead into the rivers of the Northwest every year.

But a growing body of research suggests that hatchery fish are semi-domesticated and weaker than wild fish. Hatchery fish have also been shown to interbreed with the wild fish and compete for food.