Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Salmon Hatcheries: Washington State

Salmon Hatcheries: Washington State

♪ [music] ♪ – [Kathy Peters] Washington State has a proud
history of being leaders in fish culture. – [Kevin Davis] We have some of the most
incredible access to some of the most incredible fish on the planet. – [Brian Noji] Having opportunity to catch
these fish is a once-in-a-lifetime experience because not everybody can catch
them. We’re pretty fortunate to have them here. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Andy Appleby] Between 50 and 90 percent of the fish
that are caught almost anywhere in the Northwest are hatchery-produced. ♪ [music] ♪ – [Alex Gouley] Hatcheries right now maintain
our way of life. Without hatcheries there’s virtually no
opportunity to harvest. – [Andy Appleby] Federal, state, and tribal
hatcheries release millions of fish annually that provide harvest for our
recreational, commercial, and tribal fishers. Hatchery salmon however, can
have a negative impact on wild salmon. – [Kenneth Currens] We need to minimize, you know,
large amounts of hatchery fish in the wild because we don’t want to swamp the
genetic characteristics of the wild fish. – [Andy Appleby] So the question has always been
“Can we have hatcheries for the benefit they produce, while reducing the
impacts on natural origin fish?” – [Kathy Peters] After certain populations of
fish were diminished to the point that they were listed as threatened or
endangered under the Endangered Species Act, there started to be a lot more
focus to protecting those native populations. In the late 1990s, Congress
said, “We think you should be studying this,” and gave money to the State of
Washington to convene a group of scientists and come up with
a set of recommendations. – [Tony Floor] Hatchery fish are produced and
they’re mass marked so we can tell that they’re a hatchery fish and not
interfere with the wild stock. – [Eric Kinne] In harvest, we are using more
selective fisheries. Fish in Washington State, most of them are adipose fin
clipped to determine that they’re hatchery fish so you can have selective fisheries
on those fish as they return so you’re not affecting the wild stocks as
greatly as it has in the past. – [Sam Gibbons] With the ability to identify
hatchery fish from wild fish, we can use traps and weirs to be able to
separate those fish and take the hatchery fish off the spawning grounds. That’s
one of the most important things we do. – [Eric Kinne] So a lot of our hatcheries are integrating
wild stocks into our hatchery programs to make them more wild-like. – [David Fast] The value of taking these fish
into the hatchery is that you can greatly increase the number of fish that you
produce and release. There’s about 10 percent of the eggs that survive in the wild and
about 90-some percent survive in the hatcheries. Now, a lot of people say,
“Well, those are eggs that should not have survived to become fish,” but in fact, the
great majority of those eggs were perfect to survive. It’s just they were swamped
with silt that had washed in from potential logging areas, agricultural
areas, or other reasons like that. – [Sara LaBorde] If we’re serious about having
thriving hatchery fisheries and healthy wild fish populations, then we need to
implement effective habitat protection and restoration and we need excellent
fisheries and hatchery management. – Hatcheries are important for just
maintaining the quality of life that we have in the Pacific Northwest. Not only
do hatcheries provide great salmon to our dinner tables and to our restaurants and
they help preserve a culturally important and iconic species, but they’re absolutely
vital for balancing the other benefits that we try to get out of our
streams and rivers and shorelines. – [Eric Kinne] What’s exciting about salmon is
when you work in the hatchery, you’re producing a live product and you’re
releasing that live product and you see the the fruits of your labor when those
fish return to the hatchery and into the fishery and provides benefit to all the
citizens of the state of Washington. – [Kathy Peters] Hatcheries, we’re going to have to
continue to use and fund and operate if we’re going to continue to see salmon and
salmon fishing seasons in Washington and along the whole coast. – [Sara LaBorde] We know hatchery fish negatively impact
wild fish and we know what to do. And implementing hatchery reform is a key
critical step to ensure that we have wild fish and fisheries
in the future.

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