NANFA-L-- hatchery salmon

Subject: NANFA-L-- hatchery salmon
From: Christopher Scharpf (ichthos at
Date: Tue Oct 12 2004 - 12:33:51 CDT

To answer Moon's question about why most hatchery salmon don't make it...

In the wild, most salmon die very young anyway. Those that make it, however,
are better suited for whatever life their local stream has to offer. They're
strong, they're fit, and they breed.

In contrast, hatchery fish are coddled from day one. They are fed processed
salmon feed that, to the fish, just magically appears on the surface. They
are raised in big concrete raceways. So when they are released into the
wild, they are easy pickings to predators and other natural hazards.

Geologist David Montgomery in his book "King of Fish" says, "Releasing
hatchery fish into a stream is like dropping suburban teenagers into the
middle of the Congo and asking them to walk out of the jungle to the coast.
Few will make it."

Hatcheries, of course, are about mass production, not smart production. Fish
raised in aquariums like those at CFI, where some attempt is made to
replicate natural conditions, stand a better chance of making it. Plus
there's also a big difference between releasing a fish in a pristine
headwater stream or spring, and heavily altered rivers like the Snake and

Chris Scharpf

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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:43 CST