Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Information on Quillayute IHN Outbreak

Latest Information on the IHN outbreak in Quillayute hatchery populations from WDFW's Heather Bartlett. From the Sounds of it, the Snider Creek Program is also affected. Furthermore, wild fish collected by the guide association for the broodstock are infected as well, meaning they may end up being wasted. The Snider program has a host of problems associated with it, not the least of which is the fact that they are taking wild fish from the most fragile part of the run (early) to provide broodstock for a harvest fishery. Maybe this will serve as a wake up call to WDFW and the guides association that this program has long been doing more harm than good.

We have had outbreaks of IHNv on the Olympic Peninsula. When you
say another, I am uncertain what the frame of reference is, so I
will summarize what we know at this juncture.

Department fish health staff detected IHNv in Bogachiel winter
steelhead several weeks back. We increased the frequency of pulling
adults from the trap in order to minimize the shedding of the virus
into the watershed as well as protect the juveniles on station. We
further destroyed over a thousand adult steelhead and buried them on
site to ameliorate further risk to juveniles at the hatchery as well

as protect fish in the river.

At this time it appears juvenile steelhead on station at Bogachiel
are free of the virus so there is no need to quarantine them. We
are currently exploring management options with the tribal
co-managers for the eggs that were taken by the spawned adults that
came up positive. Iodophor, a standard disinfection process
generally precludes vertical transmission of the disease (parent to
progeny), but we are remaining vigilant to understand if all the
precautionary procedures were employed to ensure these eggs indeed
are clear of the virus.

Regardless, at this time, the virus is clearly in the watershed as
now the Snider Creek wild adult steelhead collected by the guide
association have also been identified as positive for IHNv. We have
yet to make a final determination on what to do with these adults
and their progeny.

I anticipate these last issues will be the main topics of the
meeting…what is the risk the 400K eggs pose from IHNv positive
adults and what to do about the Snider Creek wild steelhead program
for this broodyear.

We are keenly aware of the risks this disease, and in particular
this strain poses and take this very seriously. State, tribal and
stakeholder discussions will help to shape the final decision. Heather


Bob said...

In a perfect world with no tribal or sport harvest, The Snider Project doesn't make sense. Yet, both exist in the real world.

If you fully understood the intricacies of the what fish are collected for the program(for example, under current law, roughly 1/2 of these fish would have been on a dinner table rather than providing towards the system)and the fishery as a whole, as well as the mentality of the various user groups, your opinion of the program might perhaps change.

Not all guides see it as a harvest. I am President of the aforementioned Guides' Association and we harvest no Snider broodstock on my boat. I personally do not consider the end goal of the program to be harvest .... although a few people do.

Generalizations such as this, especially in light of the thousands of man-hours and dollars that go to benefit all on the river, are just plain ignorant.

Osprey said...


Thanks for your perspective and we applaud your dedication to the Quillayute and other Forks area rivers. Regardless of your good intentions however, the fact remains that fish which have successfully made it through the sport and tribal fishery are being taken into a hatchery program which in all likelihood is depressing the productivity of the early component of the run.

Asserting that the broodstock program is benefiting wild populations when little data has been collected in support of that claim seems dubious, particularly in light the findings of other studies where wild broodstock fish had significantly lower reproductive success than their wild counterparts. Can you site any example throughout the range of steelhead where a wild broodstock hatchery designed with to fisheries catches has benefited wild fish? There is little to no proof that broodstock hatcheries have any benefits to wild stocks and most cases seem to point to the opposite. The Osprey agrees completely that eliminating harvest would greatly benefit wild steelhead in the Quillayute, however further depressing wild productivity with a wild broodstock program is not the answer.

The Osprey