Hatchery-reared salmon show genetic differences from wild populations in only a few generations, but those differences vary among hatcheries.
Two Northwest conservation groups have alleged that lower Columbia River hatcheries harm wild salmon and steelhead, sending a 60-day notice of intent to sue federal, state and county agencies that oversee and operate Mitchell Act and SAFE hatcheries.
The Biden Administration, Columbia River treaty tribes and the states of Oregon and Washington agreed Thursday to work to restore wild salmon populations in the Columbia and Snake river basins and to delay ongoing litigation for five years, with an option for the delay to go as long as 10 years.
More than 17,000 adult coho salmon and nearly 5,000 wild spring Chinook salmon returned to Portland General Electric’s North Fork Dam on the Clackamas River this fall, according to the utility.
Parties to the lawsuit challenging the federal government’s 2020 environmental impact statement and biological opinion for imperiled salmon and steelhead traversing Columbia/Snake River federal dams have developed a package of “actions and commitments” that they will present to regional partners to get buy-in over the next 45 days.
Chinook, coho and sockeye salmon are in steep decline in the North Pacific and one of the causes is the proliferation of pink salmon, many of which originate from Russian, Japanese and Alaskan fish hatcheries, according to a recent study by scientists in Alaska, Canada and Washington.
The Biden administration this week announced that the Bonneville Power Administration will provide three Upper Columbia River Tribes $200 million over 20 years for ongoing efforts to reintroduce salmon above Grand Coulee and Chief Joseph dams, which have blocked fish migration since 1942. The Tribes have agreed to a twenty-year pause to existing litigation while these actions are pursued.
For over a century, fish hatcheries across the world have produced salmonids to supply fisheries, mitigate habitat loss and boost depleted stocks. A newly published review of scientific literature examining the impacts of these programs on wild (i.e., naturally produced) salmonids shows that over 80 percent of global, peer-reviewed research on the topic has found that hatchery fish have adverse effects on wild salmonid populations in freshwater and marine environments.
NOAA Fisheries is asking for comments on its existing plan that allows for take of hatchery and listed wild Snake River sockeye to help in the recovery of the fish, listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Comments are due September 7.