Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sockeye Hatchery Program Expanding on the Snake

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is set to expand the current sockeye hatchery from 150,000 to 1 million smolts. The program was originally implemented as a means of rescuing Snake Sockeye from the effects of inbreeding depression that come from extremely small family sizes. While managers are touting the increased hatchery production as a means of restoring wild populations the fact is, until migration conditions (dams) change dramatically on the Snake, nothing will change. Now instead of being threatened only by high out migration mortality, endangered wild sockeye will be overwhelmed by large numbers of hatchery smolts and potentially large numbers of spawners. Hatchery reared salmonids have lower fitness when spawning in the wild, meaning they will erode the productivity of this already endangered wild stock.

Article from the Columbia Basin Bulletin:

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