Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Alsea hatchery looking to wild steelhead for brood booster

The Alsea Hatchery is looking for anglers on the Alsea River to participate in the wild winter steelhead brood stock collection project, according to the Corvallis Gazette-Times.

The hatchery supplies collecting equipment to volunteer fishermen for transporting wild steelhead. The hatchery then uses those wild fish to boost its breeding stock.

Generally, I'm against this for a couple reasons. One, it's taking naturally reproducing wild fish out of the system. Two, it perpetuates the idea that hatcheries are a valid response to environmentally damaged watersheds.

Hatcheries are a band-aid solution. ODFW funds would be better spent restoring naturally reproducing fish. But that's pretty hard work. More fish in the creel translates into more licenses bought, therefore more money for ODFW.

If any of you hatchery-heads out there have a counter argument I'd like to hear it. I'm going to be open, because I like lots of big dumb fish as much as the next guy. And I like catching stocked fish in Oregon's high lakes.

For Trout Unlimited's anti-hatchery response, check out their Why Wild campaign.

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