Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Puget Sound Net Pen Coho Threaten Wild Salmon

In Puget Sound, WDFW and the tribes have long operated net pens where juvenile coho are reared and subsequently released into the sound. Between Elliot bay and Agate Passage alone, almost 750,000 coho smolts will be reared and released with a potentially detrimental effect on wild populations of salmon and steelhead. Many of these coho will residualize in the sound, feeding heavily on baitfish, invertebrates and juvenile salmon and trout. The state and tribes also rear chinook and delay their saltwater release as a means of encourage residualization. Furthermore, since they do not home to any specific stream, many of these net pen reared coho will stray into local rivers and creeks where they will spawn with wild salmon, depressing the productivity and genetic integrity of already imperiled wild stocks.

The HSRG expressed concerns about the level of supplementation occuring in the Southsound and the same point could and should be made for all of Puget Sound. The number of salmon and steelhead being released into the Puget Sound ecosystem is unprecedented and likely exceeds even historic levels of wild abundance. Meanwhile poor early marine survival has been identified as a major impediment to the recovery of wild steelhead and coho in the sound. Considering the fact that the Puget Sound ecosystem is far less productive than it was historically, releasing millions of smolts is almost certainly reducing wild survival.

Check out this article in the Kitsap Sun for more details:


終於呀 said...


lake.john said...

I'm glad somebody has finally put up the red flag on how this program "MIGHT" be affecting our puget sound wild steelhead survival. I enjoy fishing for "residents" too, but not at the cost of the steelhead.