TFFJ’s own Rob Elam, spey-rod and steelhead enthusiast, has been chairing the board for the Native Fish Society, a Portland based group dedicated to preserving the habitat and runs of wild salmon and
steelhead. Speaking recently at their annual banquet and fundraiser (and yes, that is a PowerPoint of an exploding dam in the background), Elam noted the continued negative impacts the over-stocking of hatchery fish in traditionally wild runs of the Sandy River. A couple days later the group dropped a major bomb on NOAA and the OR dept of Fish and Wildlife by taking the state to task over the declining protected wild runs, vis a vis the documented impact of hatchery fish outcompeting and breeding with wild stocks. For additional legal information, visit their site.
As the Puget Sound river closures have shown, we can’t hatchery our way to a future that includes fishing. Either we recover wild fish in self-sustaining numbers, or we will not fish. Dumping hatchery fish in newly created habitat behind former dams in ever more shortsighted. How long can fisheries mangers on the west coast oversee dramtic diminishing returns without challenges from wild fish advocates and the fishing public? Where the state takes it, is the $768 per fish question (oh, wait, that’s WA).