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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Steelhead Hatcheries?

About ten years ago the fisheries made all hatcherys stop producing Steelhead. Talk to Vance at the Coq hatchery and ask him about the standoff between the DFO and Fisheries over the forced release of immature smolts, at the Coq Hatchery.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

newsman said:
About ten years ago the fisheries made all hatcherys stop producing Steelhead. Talk to Vance at the Coq hatchery and ask him about the standoff between the DFO and Fisheries over the forced release of immature smolts, at the Coq Hatchery.
The reason given was that the hatcheries did not have permits to rear and release steelhead, so in their wisdom, instead of issuing permits to the hatcheries, DFO forced the hatcheries to cease their activities. With the recent findings of no genetic dilution of fish stocks with hatchery reared fish released into the population, it would be a good time for DFO to re-examine their policy.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Hey guys,

I agree that the way steelhead are managed by MoE in BC right now is not the greatest.

I am not sure that hatcheries are the solution especially not with present ideas on the role of hatchery fish. Hatchery steel are seen as dangers to the genetic integrity of our wild stocks, and therefore should be "harvested" at all costs. In my eyes to take wild steel and use them for brood stock to create fish that "need to be killed" is not great policy. You are taking wild steelhead off of their natural redds and making "expendable" hatch fish with their eggs.

A good example of this is the situation on the Coq, where wild steelhead are captured to be used as broodstock to support the Chehalis hatchery summer run program. The Coq can't really afford to be giving up these pairs of wild fish IMO.

I think hatcheries could be a valuable conservation tool if the attitude towards hatchery steel taken from wild brood was re-examined.

:2cents:
 
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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Pat AV said:
A good example of this is the situation on the Coq, where wild steelhead are captured to be used as broodstock to support the Chehalis hatchery summer run program. The Coq can't really afford to be giving up these pairs of wild fish IMO.
Wrong.

Chehalis fish are used to make Chehalis fish. The only time Coq fish are used is when they need to top off the bucks. Then the bucks from the Coq are used as soon as they are ripe and returned to the Coq.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

That would be MOE prof, my friends were very involved in the Coquitlam thing and the lies and false accusations that accompanied closing them down were bad.

Those years of hatchery enhancement definately bump started the population in the Coquitlam, despite what MOE claims, in fact they told the boys involved that the returning hatchery fish were incapable of spawning.

Must really be a shocker for them that Coquihalla fish are now successfully spawning in the chehalis, unless the unclipped summers are strays.

Maybe one day we will see onus put on stocking SPORT fish as opposed to commercial fish, beacuse the amount of money it brings to our communities is staggering, compared to the pittance derived from commercial and illegal commercial fisheries.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Kryptonite said:
Pat AV said:
A good example of this is the situation on the Coq, where wild steelhead are captured to be used as broodstock to support the Chehalis hatchery summer run program. The Coq can't really afford to be giving up these pairs of wild fish IMO.
Wrong.

Chehalis fish are used to make Chehalis fish. The only time Coq fish are used is when they need to top off the bucks. Then the bucks from the Coq are used as soon as they are ripe and returned to the Coq.
I stand corrected, that is great news and I hope that I am wrong. Thanks for the info. Humble pie never tasted so sweet...... :)

My statement still is true for many systems though, wild steel are used to create hatch fish that are seen as expendable. Taking wild fish off of their redds to make expendable hatch steel is a bad idea IMO.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Yes it is an interesting little thread isn't it...? Well, despite the sidebar topic and the pseudo hi-jacking, at least with all this banter about hatcheries and such, less people will be reading about the (edited) and rushing up there to line its banks.

Regardless Roughingminor, the advice and info given towards the beginning of this thread is sound. Few fish, but they are there...definitely a system where the numbers are low. If you know the system well, I would do my searching by thinking of the river as a whole, and then considering where they might be as far as particular sections of river at this point in the season...

I took the liberty of moving this to the reports section as it is less visible, (no guest viewing), and thus those who may not give a damn about the fish's well being might be less apt to see it and get any ideas...

Pat AV's advice about such systems is really good advice. Take care of those fish.

rib
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Yes Pat, but that is assuming that all hatch fish are bonked and any that make it through are not successfully spawning.

But in reality in a system such as Chehalis I bet about 70% of hatches go through and spawn and according to recent studies such as the Kitimat one, they do so at a success rate very near wild fish.
Also according to the Kitimat study(which is the only one of its kind and is accepted as the definitive study on proper wild broodstocking techniques, not to be confused with lobsided studies using inbred out of basin steelhead that are the norm for anti hatchery papers)
We must always consider the increased survival of young steelhead that are protected from poor habitat and lack of nutrients, and out of whack predation scenarios(sqauw fish, bass....).
Its like tree planting, would it be better to just leave barren wastelands or is it better to plant trees, even if they are raised in nurseries ??.

I will always agree that we must protect the healthy watersheds that exist and not dilute mother natures work.
However as has been proven time and again Steelhead are extremely adaptive creatures and when you massively alter there habitat, why is a very small change in their juvennille life style expected to drastically weaken their race.

According to science fish such as Rainbow trout and Sockeye can be landlocked for many decades and their andromodous genes remain intact and ready for reuse. Look at the Alouette Sockeye it was very simple to revert them back from Kokanee to Sockeye.
Perhaps we should be using Coquitlam lake rainbows as seed for hatchery work on the Coquitlam river, without using any wild Steelhead. Raise them in the hatchery to smolt size and release into the extreme lower river, mark them and see what happens, if you get large cases of residualizing, open them up and discontinue, if some go and then return as Steelhead you've just found how to rebuild a wild fish run with hatchery fish.
Something that apparently cannot be done, but seems to have been done in the past(the Coquitlam River).

What are your thoughts Pat.

As for the Coke- Chehay stuff, that comes right from the guy in charge, no longer removing Coke genes for Chehalis work. They got full brood stock numbers as a nice pod swam into the hatchery all on their own during a fall high water event, down that side channel that according to the uninformed is ruining the river ::).
 

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Re: Norrish Creek for Steelhead?

Hey Bent Rod,

Good well thought out post, I do not have time to answer as I am walking out the door with a 4hour drive ahead of me. I will put more thought into a reply on monday.

The bare bones is a am not against enhancement as a conservation tool, quite the opposite. I just have a few problems with the current thoughts of many MoE bio's related to the use of hatchery fish.

Not dodging your question but the trout are calling!

Pat
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

The one study done in Oregon recently that showed a surprisingly large failure to spawn rate in hatchery fish has been largely explained already. The ablility to spawn seems to be very poor in fish that were harvested in one system and reared in another system. In other words, if brood stock are taken from streamX and subsequent offspring are released back into stream X their spawning success is comparable to wild stocks. If however, the brood stock come from stream X but the offspring are released into stream Y, they have extremely poor spawning success. The idea of releasing Coquitlam Lake rainbow trout fry into the lower Coquitlam River, with the hopes that some of them will become anadromous is certainly a strategy that has some merit and should be attempted. :2cents:
 
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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Good ol' MOE, gotta love the reasoning behind the lack of hatchery fish.

hatchery fish cant spawn, but when they do
the eggs are not viable, but when they are
the fry are not hardy, but when they are
they will not smolt, but when they do
they will not transition to the salt, but when they do
they will not survive in the big water, but when they do
they will not return to the river of origin, but when they do
they will not pair up, but when they do
they will not spawn, but when they do
...

I'm personally fond of their stance that hatchery fish (taken from wild parents) are a detriment to the wild fish, unless they need to up the numbers of wild fish when they get critically low, then hatchery fish (from wild broodstock) are the saviour :confused:
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

"I am not sure that hatcheries are the solution especially not with present ideas on the role of hatchery fish. Hatchery steel are seen as dangers to the genetic integrity of our wild stocks, and therefore should be "harvested" at all costs. In my eyes to take wild steel and use them for brood stock to create fish that "need to be killed" is not great policy. You are taking wild steelhead off of their natural redds and making "expendable" hatch fish with their eggs."
If a hatchery uses wild steelhead for brood stock ,then the once emerged fry would continue to be genetically wild steelhead. Only at the point of removal of adipose fin would one be able to determine the difference between wild and hatchery raised fish.

At which point does this fry become incapable of becoming a successful spawner if it survives to the point of spawning?

Is it during the time that they are raised in a hatchery and Does this lead to an ill prepared smolt that is incapable of reaching maturity and spawning?

Why do people say hatchery bred steelhead should be killed. Were they not of wild origin? and to take this point even further: are we not just killing another wild steelhead that had lost a fin?
 
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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

swiftwater said:
Why do people say hatchery bred steelhead should be killed. Were they not of wild origin? and to take this point even further: are we not just killing another wild steelhead that had lost a fin?
Hatchery steelhead are made to be killed. That is their purpose for being produced, put and take. Well, that was their sole purpose for many years. That is untill MOE does a turn around and says that hatchery fish can some how miraculously produce a wild fish that is not inferior to a wild fish in only the rivers that they specify at the times that they specify, which is contrary to their stance on hatchery fish :confused:

Generally, hatchery steelhead are still for harvest purposes only.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Kryptonite said:
swiftwater said:
Why do people say hatchery bred steelhead should be killed. Were they not of wild origin? and to take this point even further: are we not just killing another wild steelhead that had lost a fin?
Hatchery steelhead are made to be killed. That is their purpose for being produced, put and take. Well, that was their sole purpose for many years. That is untill MOE does a turn around and says that hatchery fish can some how miraculously produce a wild fish that is not inferior to a wild fish in only the rivers that they specify at the times that they specify, which is contrary to their stance on hatchery fish :confused:

Generally, hatchery steelhead are still for harvest purposes only.
There is no "miracle" about it. Peer reviewed studies by independant researchers (not MoE or DFO" have demonstrated that there there is no lack of genetic diversity in returning hatchery identified fish in comparison to returning wild stocks. In other words, hatchery fish posed no genetic threat the overall population of any given system. It has long been known that not all hatchery fish are harvested and that those that survive successfully spawn and therefore do add to the population. While they are an allowed kill, to say that the only purpose for them is harvest, is not only wrong, but I believe wrong-headed as well. No offense meant, it is merely my opinion. :peace:
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Jim has it correct. There is no evidence of hatcheries rebuilding or creating a sustainable steelhead run. The closest would be the Chehalis summers of this happening.
On another note though MoE has to one day deal with the overall growing population of the lower mainland and do something to offer more steelhead for those that want to fish them. If you are under the age of 30 you most likely have not see good returns of steelhead in any local rivers seeing the last peak of steelhead returns was in the mid 80's. Run sizes have dropped substantially since then.
We need to try and save/rebuild wild steelhead returns and at the same time offer enough opportunity to keep or grow the amount of steelheaders that fish so there is some to carry the torch forward when the old timers pass on. The volume of steelhead licenses sold has dropped from a high of 24,000 in the early 90's to a low of under 14,000 in recent years. This trend needs to change.
 
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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Prof, Its not me thats saying that hatchery fish are inferior and shouldnt be used to supplement a wild run, its MOE. Any of the steelhead meetings that I have gone to MOE has had the same stance on hatchery steelhead, they are there for angler harvest, thats it. I think broodstock steelhead are just about as close as we can get to providing fish for harvest while having the least/no negative impact on wild fish.

JBJ, so what should we do then? Leave everything alone like on VI and watch the fish disapear. The do nothing method sure seems to be working well ::) Noticed you seem to spend a lot of time on the Vedder as well :confused: You dont seem to be complaining about the inferior hatchery fish at all.

RLN, "We need to try and save/rebuild wild steelhead returns and at the same time offer enough opportunity to keep or grow the amount of steelheaders that fish so there is some to carry the torch forward when the old timers pass on."

And how should we do this, habitat work ::) thats working soooooo well across the board. Just look at the Squamish, definatly back up to historic steelhead levels.
 

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Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

Round and round we go.................................

Well if you take away the hatchery fish and the run dissapears you tell me! seems habitat/water/high seas is probably to blame.

dont say overfishing, because I worked on a stream we had up to 500 fish from 0.......peter caverhill retired, and over the next ten years there seems to be 5 or 6 fish left every year. overfishing......NOPE , this stream is a NO KILL FISHERY for steelhead.

I did not say I dont fish on hatchery based streams.

so lets put in a new powerplant and steal more water or perhaps lets build a subdivision 25 feet from a small stream.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Re: Steelhead Hatcheries?

You hit the nail on the head Jetboat. I gave up talking and writing about this subject a long time ago because I gto tired of beating my head on a wall. The evidence is out there but the majority reject it. The time I spent on the Spences Bridge Steelhead Advocate Society finished me. I washed my hands of the subject when I came to the realization that nothing solid will be done until Steelhead are only a memory.
 
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