Tuesday, June 22, 2010

16 Million Hatchery Chinook Wont Save California's Fisheries

California Fish and Game recently issued a press release lauding their release of 16. 5 million hatchery raised chinook smolts into the Sacramento and San Joaquin Delta's as the savior of the regions beleaguered commercial fisheries. Poor returns of chinook to the Sacramento since 2007 have led to widespread closures of commercial fisheries in California and Southern Oregon. Unfortunately hatchery fish cannot rescue these failing fisheries, and an over-reliance on massive hatchery releases is a large part of the problem in the first place. Healthy wild stocks offer highly diverse groups of subpopulations capable of thriving even in the face of changing environmental conditions. Sadly, habitat destruction has combined with an industrial scale hatchery mentality on the Sacramento and San Joaquin to destroy most of the remaining wild chinook in the region and while hatchery programs occasionally experience boom times when conditions are favorable for the hatchery monoculture, the only long term insurance against collapse are diverse locally adapted wild populations. Hatcheries are a crutch enabling state and federal bureaucrats to put off the hard decisions which are truly necessary to protect and restore wild fish. As long as dozens of dams in the Sac and San Joaquin block passage of salmon to their historic range, and short sighted California politicians continue to push for huge water withdrawls from the Sacramento Delta salmon fisheries up and down the coast will continue on their current downward sprial. See the press release on CDF&Gs website...



Anonymous said...

So this post pretty much sums up the entire federal policy w/regards to Pacific salmon... more hatchery fish to mask the wild fish crisis... the real barometer of ecosystem health... 5 million hatchery fall chinook into the Snake system... Millions more hatchery spring chinook?
It is like giving lidocaine to someone with cancer and telling them they are healed because they cannot feel the pain.
It will be a miracle if pacific stocks can survive the ongoing abuse at the hands of the states, the feds and our consumer society.

Anonymous said...

But how do you really feel about hatcheries?