Monday, May 14, 2012

Are hatchery salmon hurting our wild runs?

Deckboss regulars know we've occasionally touched on the topic of Alaska's prolific salmon hatcheries, and whether manufactured fish are having any detrimental effects on our purely wild runs.

This has long been a concern of some state biologists. Now it appears the state is taking steps to investigate the matter further.

The Department of Fish and Game has issued a request for proposals from "entities interested in conducting a research program to address interactions of wild and hatchery pink and chum salmon in Prince William Sound and Southeast Alaska."

It's a pretty serious contract, worth up to $4.5 million.

Jump to page 27 of the 73-page RFP to read the very interesting "scope of work" to be performed.

On a related note, the Wild Salmon Center of Portland, Ore., today announced new research suggesting hatchery-raised salmon "can harm wild salmon through competition for food and habitat."


Anonymous said...

On the H.M.S. Beagle...what "IS" as contaminated gene pool when your Fishin for Tuition....1859?
"Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Vitus Bering would have an interest in Natural Selection...and could someone check out the genetics of Armin F. Koernig?

“Genetic data show that these fish share the same feeding grounds in the open waters of the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean,” says author Greg Ruggerone of Natural Resources Consultants. “With billions of hatchery chum released each year, the abundance of adult chum salmon from hatcheries is now much greater than wild chum salmon, so it is not all that surprising that we are seeing evidence of competition in the North Pacific.”

Anonymous said...

Wild Salmon Center of Portland, Ore., today announced new research suggesting hatchery-raised salmon "can harm wild salmon through competition for food and habitat."

I just don't get it, of course hatchery raised salmon compete for resources with wild salmon, it is the way of the nature. Seems like a no- brainer to me. Until they create a salmon that does not have to eat there is going to be competition. In times of low resources seems like that would harm wild salmon.

Anonymous said...

Oh come on! Those Grad students down in Oregon had to do something with their degrees! This seemed like the best use of their time. Doing something the rest of us knew all along.

Didn't they just up the amount of salmon released every year in PWS? Doing a study to see what it does seems almost like an afterthought.

Biologists thinking = Hmm, strange the wild stocks are getting smaller and smaller every year. I've got it lets just pump more fish into the equation. Brilliant!

Anonymous said...

I love the way the state governs the release/amount of hatchery pinks in PWS, yet fails to recognize the small returns of PWS Herring. Who's driving this Boat?

Anonymous said...


If I remember correctly, Ruggerone ran the big WNH hatchery in PWS, or was he at another one there? I know that he was with PWSAC for quite a while and knows the inside "dirt". If he says that hatchery overproduction is hurting the wild stocks I believe him. He is no longer on that PWSAC payroll, nor on the state of Alaska's corruption for dollars clubmember list.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the processors pushed through $4.5mm State funding to buy three of four more years of stallings, err, "studies" (studying the obvious) to maintain and push for major increases of hatchery production before a North Pacific Salmon Symposium imposes limits on ocean salmon "ranching" increases.

This is gearing up to something like the end of the movie "Dr. Strangelove, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb".

"Gentlemen, what we need is mine shaft superiority (and much more hatchery production)."

Remember in the war room the twisted smiles on the guys' faces when "...this would necessitate a prodigious breeding program..." was announced? Same look arond the processor table when hatchery increases are bantered about.

Hatchery production in PWS was meant to fortify the returns, not overrun and replace them. Big business... out of control.

Anonymous said...

Rocket sience at it's best!

I wounder if they are debating about Gay Marrige Too.

Maybe all the ranched fish should be starilized. At least only the wild stocks could repoduce.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Alaska. The one state or country where there is no fish farming allowed. The purest place on earth by farmed fish standards.

But we're bad guys for having modest, remote, non-River based hatchery programs whose history in SE Alaska has mirrored record runs in all 5 salmon species during this same period of hatchery expansion.

Come on. This is just an eco-whackjob attack on our salmon industry, which is about 25% up to 35% hatchery anyways, depending upon where you are located.

You want to go wild and get rid of hatcheries? Move to another country and try your best shot.

Hatcheries are here to stay in Alaska and it's an economic crime that we've had the brakes on for well over a decade and now we're looking at an 11 year study? The anti hatchery folk had their 11 years.

There should be a statute of limitations on stalling of this type.

My friends and family eat alot of hatchery fish and love each and every one of them.


Anonymous said...

The purest place on Earth, until one open's the genetic study at SEAS....

We love our genetically modified wackjob's, a fine example you are bobbyt.

Genetically a Reject, a SEAS bylaw forever.

Proposals must comply with Section 1.11 Right of Rejection. However, if the state fails to identify or detect supplemental terms or conditions that conflict with those contained in this RFP or that diminish the state's rights under any contract resulting from the RFP, the term(s) or condition(s) will be considered null and void. After award of contract:
a) if conflict arises between a supplemental term or condition included in the proposal and a term or condition of the RFP, the term or condition of the RFP will prevail; and
b) if the state's rights would be diminished as a result of application of a supplemental term or condition included in the proposal, the supplemental term or condition will be considered null and void.

Anonymous said...

Inbreeding at SEAS...explained with perfection, the boobyt report!

The consequences of interbreeding of hatchery fish with wild con-specifics have received particular attention recently. Both direct genetic studies of populations and retrospective studies of productivity of hatchery-influenced populations in the Pacific Northwest have demonstrated loss of fitness in steelhead, Chinook, and coho (Araki et al. 2008, 2009; Chilcote et al., 2011). Evidence from pink or chum salmon hatchery programs (in which salmon are artificially cultured only until they are fry) is sparse. One pertinent study (Berejikian et al. 2009) on reproductive success (fry per adult) of chum salmon of hatchery broodstock ancestry found that, while the relative success of hatchery-bred males was 3% higher than that of natural-origin males and the relative success of hatchery-bred females was 28% less than that of natural-origin females, these differences were not statistically significant.

Anonymous said...

PWSAC is doing "one hell of a job" and the price of pinks, this season, will be the highest price per lb, since 1988. China, "the newest economic giant" loves our PWS pinks and chums. The Oregon "eco nut jobs" can keep their "new research" to themselves!

Anonymous said...

i see lots of comments by the norwegian salmon feed lot owners.

Anonymous said...

Was my comment one of them? Your powers of deduction intrigue me.

Anonymous said...

Down with the corporations! Occupy PWSAC!!

Anonymous said...

Boy those guys in PWS/Copper River are sure are bunch of screw up's and losers. They don’t know how to market salmon and they don’t know how to produce salmon. Too bad that Wesley Loy who calls himself a journalist won’t get of the his bar stool sitting next to state fish & game biologists and come to PWSAC and the hatcheries to see for himself what they are about. Which he has been invited to do several times. 3 of the hatcheries that PWSAC operates were built by and owned by the state.
In Anchorage ADF&G sport fish just completed one of the largest hatcheries that I have ever seen. You could fit 3 Wally Noerenberg hatcheries inside it.

Anonymous said...

What's the difference between a Norwegian salmon farmer and an Alaskan salmon rancher?

The farmer doesn't intentionally let his genetically inferior fish escape.

Anonymous said...

PWSAC..."one hell of a job", that's for sure, complete with the Devil in the details. I write from direct, personal, interactive experience. It is bottom line business driven, period. It is NOT about the health of the wildstocks, their plan is now to replace them. Very similar to how the genetically impure boobyt has displaced a natural, healthy fisherman.

Of course the Chinese love those fish, they'll eat ANYTHING. Have you ever seen the conditions of how they live?

And the eco-whackjob? Do you mean Ruggerone? He worked for years at PWSAC. Do you think that he knows anything about the bullshit that's going on there?

Hatchery production may not be such a bad thing, but when it has become a salmon race to see who can dump the most into the old algae bloom to head off into the North Pacific swirl, we are going to have problems. When you have low brow apes like booby screaming "no limit baby" and you agree, well, you know where you are heading in that old handbasket. One hell of a job PWSAC (and SEAS), one hell of a job.

Anonymous said...

Tick Tock. The time is running out for wild stocks. There is a finite amount of food in the water being chased by an ever increasing number of hatchery fish. Something has to give. There is no limit to the hatchery owner/ operator's greed glands, matched closely by many (not all) of the commercial fleet that could care less about wild vs hatchery stocks as long as they can cash in. Let's wipe out the herring stocks first, then saturate the sea with hatchery fish from all around the world and see what the result is. Eventually it will not be pretty. the hatcheries will at some time go away and there may not be enough recruitment wild stocks overcome natural predation. What is that called? Total loss of the species when it comes to sustainable harvest.

Anonymous said...

Dang, you smart guys have figured us out, those of us who catch hatchery fish hate all wild salmon, that's why we stared hatcheries in the first place. Also where are you getting that wild stocks are disappearing? The future is hopeful for runs from California to Bristol Bay.

Anonymous said...

okay, okay, people calm down and take a science based approach to things.

First of all; Alaskan aquaculture does not compare to any other mariculture in the world. It is comprised of cultured stocks FROM the region they are reared and released in.
Secondly, the fish released ARE NOT some mutation of homogenized genetics. They are fit, local fish that are cared for only 1% of their lives in captivity.
When released into unfavorable ocean conditions such as low plankton abundance. THEY DIE. They die the same amount that all the other fry in that brood year die.

The argument that they "replace"' or "overrun" wild fish is absurd. If an aquaculture company releases say 100 million fry and only 3 million come back where did the other 97 MILLION go?
They fed the ocean. That fact is indisputable. Just one of the many positive things that come from Alaskan style aquaculture.

A well placed and managed Alaskan PNP hatchery takes pressure of wild stocks. And provides a fishery that would otherwise be composed of fisherman scooping wild fish out of every estuary and creek mouth, to their extinction.

I agree their are some instances where some PNP hatcheries could do better. And you can blame ADF&G for any problems associated with that. After all they are "in charge" of what hatcheries can produce. I support a broad discussion on the importance of strays around hatcheries in Alaska but it is not the "huge genetic doomsday" that people (mostly from down south) argue about.

The only thing we need more of is ADF&G to provide more supervision, and oversight. Make positive changes where necessary, and give up the damn negative gripes. Fish don't care about all the emotional and political B.S.

Research for your self and think for your self. Go out and take part in the best managed fishery in the entire world ALASKA.
Be proud that you live in a time when 1 million pounds of fish per day can be seined from a PNP terminal harvest area and not negatively effect the majority of wild runs returning to spawn.

Although commercial salmon fisherman can be "greedy" at times ( that is the nature of fishing). We have it really freaking good up here!

Anonymous said...

I like the logic - instead of a marine derived nutrients from the ocean to the fresh waters, it is a cycle of hatchery derived nutrients, from the hatchery to feeding the ocean.

That should be the new hatchery slogan - feeding the ocean, and the world.

Anonymous said...

Be proud, and calm down, Alaska owns the Pacific Ocean.. another wet usual.

Like the massive return, rotting on every beach in that marketing plan best!

PNP...Producing No Profits their speciality!

Anonymous said...

Wo there buddy. Your comment is far to reasonable and thought out to be accepted by the mob mentality on here. If your not bashing or blaming someone then your going to be bashed or blamed.

I suggest you at least blame bobbyt, he's a crowd favorite.

George Covel said...

Once again Wes you've missed an important part of the story.

The Alaska Hatchery Research Group (AHRG) is an idea first conceived within the Alaska enhancement community. The AHRG is a cooperative effort by industry and the State of Alaska to conduct a relevant and retrospective assessment of our statewide enhancement programs some 35+ years into their operation. The request for proposals you cite is an AHRG work product and the result of over a year-and-a-half of discussions and analysis by this group - which includes an impressive roster of the finest fisheries scientists in the business.

Within the policy debates about salmon enhancement in Alaska there remains a dearth of relevant, site-specific knowledge about the effects of these programs after over three decades of operation. Research which has occured is often incomplete and not properly designed to address specific policy based needs in an objective fashion. Often, for lack of something better,researchers attempt to shoehorn results from Pacific Northwest steelhead, Coho or Chinook programs into the Alaska pink and chum template - usually with mixed or misleading results. The resulting public debate has become clouded with conjecture and is of little value in a serious evaluation or for good public policy decision making. The AHRG research program is intended to fill these voids.

The AHRG research program is funded by hatchery operators, processors and the State of Alaska. The ADF&G is administering the contractual aspects of the program because of the partial legislative appropriation involved and the collective desire to get this program up and running quickly.

Speaking of hatchery issues and missing the story, the Deckboss recently reported that the legislature "lavished" the aquaculture industry with cash, implying further that this was somehow related to an effective lobbying presence in Juneau. While this sort of reporting might excite the "anonymous" croud, the real (and boring) story has more to do with responsible public policy making and plain common sense.

Many of the hatcheries around Alaska are owned by the state and operated by the Private Non-Profit (PNP) aquaculture associations. In PWSAC's case, three of our five hatcheries are state owned and we have operated them for many years at no cost to the state. After 30+ years of operation, some of these remote facilities are literally falling apart and the Governor and legislature simply made the sensible and rational decision to partially fund the rehabilitation of this infrastructure so the stream of important public benefits can continue for another 30 years.

George Covel
Prince William Sound Aquaculture Corporation

Anonymous said...

Fishin Long?

1852—California enacted the first salmon law and included a closed season on some kinds of game. It called upon all citizens and officers of justice to remove, destroy, and break down any weir, dam, fence, set or stop net, or other obstruction to the run of salmon in any river or stream.

I guess the international conference, in Hokkaido 1870, always confuses the newbies on the block...what else is new cultural genetic management defects at a local PNP near you!

Anonymous said...

Back when genetically defective King's ruled...

Clause 33, a 33 cent question?

Anonymous said...

At 8:42 AM

What are you talking about massive amounts of rotting wasted fish in Valdez? All those fish are getting caught and sold for a good price so I'm confused by your comment.

Anonymous said...

All I know is this....The real reason BoobyT pushes his agenda, is because when he tried to fish Alaska Peninsula, years ago....He couldn't make it as a real fisherman, and He got his A$$ handed to him! He's not a fisherman! He's a greedy f@ck that supports corporate interests!

Anonymous said...

You should get out on the boat more often...millions of rotting pinks...fishin for 15 minutes?

Anonymous said...

When bobbyt was spawned...while the relative success of hatchery-bred males was 3% higher than that of natural-origin males and the relative success of hatchery-bred females was 28% less than that of natural-origin females, these differences were not statistically significant..."

Anonymous said...

Letter to Campbell, November 18, 2005

"Were fetched up here hard aground...and evidently leaking a little pink salmon."

All the drunks end up in Valdez!

Anonymous said...

1) "The AHRG research program is funded by hatchery operators, processors and the State of Alaska." (Covel)

2)"Often, for lack of something better,researchers attempt to shoehorn results from Pacific Northwest steelhead, Coho or Chinook programs into the Alaska pink and chum template " (Covel)

So, am I mistaken but the main purpose of this study is to continue to differentiate the Alaska hatchery "brand" as far superior to the other brands -- Japan, Oregon, and Canada? Alaska hatchery proponents have been claiming a superior brand for years, arguing no friggin studies are necessary to actually demonstrate this, since you all know it a priori. Now, however, you claim to be interested in a "scientific" approach. Oh the irony of it! Can it be?

Well good for you on claiming (finally) to be interested in the science, but making sure your self-interest doesn't get in the way of the research, well, that's going to be hard given your past history.

Your past history?: Well as explained above (Covel) -- "Within the policy debates about salmon enhancement in Alaska there remains a dearth of relevant, site-specific knowledge about the effects of these programs after over three decades of operation."

Guess who has been fighting such studies which has resulted in the DEARTH of "knowledge"? And the answer is: the same organzations that now claim to value such knowledge and who take no responsibility for refusing to collect the information from the get-go that would have been the basis for developing the necessary knowledge.

So please don't pat yourself on the back when you've been kicking those who wanted the studies in the ass -- until your feet got sore.

Anonymous said...

Political Science, or the real thing...

Quite a few PhD's in that political version, and when tied to ADF& get Koda Chrome Cora.

Anonymous said...

Scientific American...or...Political Science Alaskan?

We like em small, matching every politicians brain, join the UFA!

The average body size of pink salmon has been declining for several decades. Reduced average body size has likely decreased overall productivity via a reduction in average fecundity. Wertheimer et al. contend that although ocean conditions primarily drive pink salmon spawner abundance and productivity (2004a), large-scale enhancement in Prince William Sound has contributed to reduced body size due to density dependent growth in the Gulf of Alaska (2004b). They also state that, despite the ecological costs, hatchery releases in Prince William Sound have led to a net benefit in production and have not reduced wild stock productivity (Wertheimer et al. 2001; Wertheimer et al. 2004a). Hilborn and Eggers (2000), on the other hand, argue that hatchery pink salmon have replaced rather than augmented wild stocks. Farley and Carlson (2000) suggest that coastal waters of the Gulf of Alaska could be food limiting, and express concerns about density dependent growth when juvenile pink salmon first emigrate from Prince William Sound.

Anonymous said...

You know what I really hate? All those intercepted wild stocks that I have to sort out while I'm slaying millions of hatchery production. Oops, that's right, we don't mind knockin' that little run down in order to get the million dollar season. Keep on rollin' boys!


Anonymous said...

The greed gland is the biggest organ in the body and squirts when it comes to harvesting our resources, whether they be man made or wild. Don't worry, the game will be over before you know it. Like "Cod" we will read about the good old days of catching those wild salmon.

Anonymous said...

Keep er rollin...for the big money?

Kommander Kallander's Kollege Approved!

Anonymous said...

Wow it never ceases to amaze how far off topic a blog post can turn into. Maybe this is exactly the problem.

Anonymous said...

And I thought the topic was our manufactured fish companies?

"Oops, that's right, we don't mind knockin' that little run down in order to get the million dollar season. Keep on rollin' boys!"

Keep er rollin, with the Diamond Necklace Affair that spawned the new scientific invention's for genetically defective inbreads, perfecting the Razors Edge, by Dr Joseph Guillotin Ph.D 10-10-1789

Anonymous said...

I'm sure plenty "never ceases to amaze.." you if you think any of this is off topic.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ May 15, 2012 8:24 AM

Unfortunately, you leave one very important piece of information out of your lopsided argument: hatcheries can hold smolts or fingerlings for an unnaturally long time in order to release them at the optimum point of plankton bloom as well as body weight. Their wild brothers and sisters do not have that comfortable luxury. Now, perhaps in some strange Darwinian parallel universe that is a good thing for wild stocks but not in this universe. What outcome would a 12 year old, schooled in Darwin's theory, conclude? To me, it's no mystery why Lower Cook Inlet salmon runs continue to be dismal.

Anonymous said...

Leave the fox in charge of the chicken house and soon all that will be left is chicken sh...Maybe we can harvest that stuff and find a buyer. Or better yet, feed it to the hatchery stocks.

Anonymous said...

Any 12 year old would know, that holding in a pen, for optimum release conditions, always assists the genetically defective species, who can't make in the real world...isn't it great, just like at the Zoo!

Never an optimum number study needed, just go ask the SE. Seine Fleet!

Anonymous said...

Optimum Genetic Imbeciles, at a PNP near you!

Even a 12 year old, can read a disaster in the making, genetic defects as a requirement of hatchery employees...

"Three generations of imbeciles are enough."

Anonymous said...

You might as well expect rivers to run backwards as any man born free to be contented penned up.
In-mut-too-yah-lat-lat (Thunder traveling over the Mountains).

His favorite Federal Judge Redden.

The Upper Nez Pierce...Billions won't buy them off, like those Scabs in Alaska.

fishguy said...

"Even a 12 year old, can read a disaster in the making, genetic defects as a requirement of hatchery employees..."

This previous post's example is exactly the case of getting off topic.

If you read this link provided by previous poster.
You will find out that the hatchery fish can't do as well as the wild fish.

Which is why you can't take a study from OREGON about all other large watershed salmon, and apply it everywhere else.

Alaskan aquaculture is unique in that it is designed to produce a large amount of fish for harvest in a terminal hatchery area. FOR HARVEST. It succeeds at that very well. If the "strays" can't survive as well as the "wilds" then that is perfect!

Your post negates it's very idea, what a waste of time!


Anonymous said...

ADF&G...a little late to the party, as usual. What do we pay these guys for? There is hardly any wild stock left. Our "sustainable fisheries" are a joke. We (Alaska ADF&G) are like the emperor who has no clothes.
What a was good while it lasted,but now it's gone. No amount of "ocean ranching" will ever bring it back.

Anonymous said...

Terminal Harvest Area? Do you mean like the one at the southwest entrance to Prince William Sound targeting the AFK hatchery millions? Talk about intercepting wildstocks, only the western half of PWS takes a major hit there.

Anonymous said...

Soon after the journal was released, I reviewed all of the journal's articles so I know that they cover a broad geographic scope; not just the Lower 48. I am befuddled at some of the comments here on the blog - those making statements like, " can't take a study from OREGON about all other large watershed salmon, and apply it everywhere else." The journal isn't only about Oregon salmon, Oregon watersheds; it’s about all of the salmon in the Pacific Rim. I agree with many of the comments here, Alaska salmon management is the best but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be improved. If studies like Brenner and Moffit's point out that straying hatchery stocks are negatively impacting the wild stocks in Prince William Sound then there should be a change to how the fisheries and hatcheries are managed. I would think that the best salmon management regime in the world would make those changes to protect the valuable wild salmon stocks thereby proving that it really is the best.

Anonymous said...

Back to the topic -- here's the deal:

PWSAC's Mr. Covel above would have us believe that after 4 decades of denial, Alaska aquaculture operations, PWSAC in particular, has finally got religion (oh, sorry!. . . make that . . has finally got "science") and now want really really want to study wild/hatchery interaction, albeit, as has already been elucidated above, Mr. Covel implies the real purpose of these studies is to prove for evermore that the Alaska brand of salmon-ranching is and has always been far superior to other salmon-ranching production hatcheries around the Pacific Rim. Even if it has been and is superior that does not "prove" Alaska has thus avoided adverse impacts of its hatchery stocks on wild populations.

At any rate, if PWSAC is so concerned to get to the bottom of the wild/hatchery interaction, why did it ramp up production of Main Bay Sockeye and AFK chum in 2011? This ramp-up was approved by the Commissioner over the objecions of ADFG staff. So, it seems the ass end of the fishery management dog (the aquaculature corporation) is wagging the (apparently empty)head of the dog. How is this the world's best management???

Finally, don't forget that PSWAC actually has wondered: what's the big deal with hatchery straying into wild stock streams, since, according to PSWAC, this straying is actually a good thing because it enhances genetic diversity!

Gosh, who knew!

Anonymous said...

In the previous Deckboss post several days ago on the legislature lavishing its largesse on the those famous salmon ranches, PWSAC's Mr. Covel seeks to remind us that the legislature's lavishing its largesse "has more to do with responsible public policy making and plain common sense."

Now, according to the PWSAC January 24, 2008 meeting minutes hatchery operator Reggiani stated (referring to the hatchery units still owned by the State of Alaska): "They are State owned facilities that PWSAC operates under contract. The operating cost and capital improvements that we choose to do are our [PWSAC} expenses." So, actually the sound public policy would be just the opposite of what Covel purports is sound.

Covel's persepective on "sound public policy" and "common sense" reeks of self-interest.

Anonymous said...

I am having an awfully hard time comprehending how an announcement of a program designed to gather scientific data that might help us better understand the impact of hatcheries on the ecosystem justifies such an outpouring of foaming at the mouth.

Don't you nimrods ever want to actually know what you talking about?