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Envio Science

In: Science

Submitted By lihler9338
Words 1409
Pages 6
Lacey Ihler
November 2nd 2013
Environmental Science 101
Scholarly Article CS#2

My article written by R. J. Beamish, C. Mahnken, and C. M. Neville informs us about the changes that occur when hatchery produced Pacific Salmon are released into the waters. You can find “Hatchery and wild production of Pacific salmon in relation to large-scale, natural shifts in the productivity of the marine environment” in the ICES Journal of Marine Science. Because Pacific salmon have been so heavily fished for hundreds of years society has begun to manually produce salmon in hatcheries and release them into the wild. A heated subject for many due to the effects the artificially produced fish have on the wild naturally bread salmon. Several observations have been discussed from the examinations made from the trends of five different species (pink, chum, sockeye, coho, and chinook) but specifically pink chum and sockeye due to the due to the number of catches, in 5 heavily fished areas including our very own Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and California). I will outline the background and progression of artificial salmon population enhancements in correlation with the issue that climate change and human development have had a severe negative impact on the wild and hatchery produced salmon. Sockeye salmon were introduced into the northern area several times both with success and failure. In the early 1900’s, propagated salmon in Alaska showed no benefit. They tried again in the Colombia River and Baker Lake Washington to help restore population after the dams were built and received a better outcome. In current studies, they have shown mass positivity and have contributed to hundreds of thousands more but a decrease is in the concerns of many. Artificial introduction of salmon to Japan has been a rollercoaster of ups and down. First there was no luck then after trying again, has a steady population for about 30 years until sockeye salmon were over fished and once again absent. Now in both areas they are trying to naturally repopulate the waters by reducing numbers of hatchery fish. Behind the chum salmon, pinks are most popularly released into the North Pacific Ocean.
In the beginning hatchery pinks were not stabilized, it wasn’t until the 1980s in Alaska during an industrial boom where they increased their numbers. Coho never exceeded 25 million until we got educated on disease prevention, feeding and lifespan knowledge, then it boomed around 1980 in Washington and Oregon. Once the population started to decline again because of climate change, the hatchery success in Alaska allowed pinks to swim down and “offset” the number but it never reached its boom again.
Hatchery releases of the chinook began in 1895 but didn’t really accelerate until the 1950’s. During the industrial age the Colombia River Dam and the Puget Sound) and had a sevenfold increase by 1988 between. Like the pinks in Washington and Oregon the population began to die because of marine environment regime shift in 76-77 and El Niño’s.
Coho salmon peaked in survival rates in the 1970 at over 25% and has continuously declines since then now at 5% in B.C. The same trend has happened with the Colombia River and Puget Sound. After the El Niño year and weather conditions it has dropped to a survival rate of 1-5% between 1972 1990. There are two different types of declines; sharp and long term. Short includes El Niño’s and regional issues. Long term involves long term climate changes and ocean temperatures that will have a long term effect on the waters. Both which has been relevant when talking about the decline of Pacific salmon.
It has been proved that climate and ocean changes can have a positive effect on survival rates of salmon including chum, pink, sockeye. These higher survival rates control the increase in catches and more frequent spawning, however; the most recent drastic shift of weather in 1976-1977 (El Nino year) had a negative effect for our local chinook and coho in the strait of Georgia which is off the coast of Washington and Oregon. Weather changes aren’t the only factor in determining survival rates; the deterioration of the Aleutian Low is a direct cause of the lack of zooplankton on the west coast coming up from California and nitrate reductions in BC. These have an effect on the surface temperature of the water which in hand relates to the productivity of marine life. Unfortunately even with the abundance of Chinook and coho salmon released into the PNW, specifically Washington and Oregon are continuing a drastic decline in catch numbers. It has been documented that this decline is in correlation with the decline of wild coho salmon in the area. With the lack of spawning in fresh water and the over fishing of the diminishing wild coho, the decrease in numbers are apparent. Along with predation in terms of fishing, the coho seem to be preyed on more due to their size in a marine environment as well. Hatchery released salmon are much bigger leaving the natural wild salmon more vulnerable to be snatched for food. On a lighter note, the farther north these salmon are released- the better chance they have of surviving currently. The larger areas of water allow fish to adapt better to the water, compared to narrow more temperate canals they used to migrate in contribute to a higher mortality. Misconceptions in the 1970’s about being able to continue “regional water resources for power, irrigation, and industrial or domestic use,” while producing a record amount of Chinook and coho salmon has led to far too much dependence on hatchery fish. “In the Pacific Northwest the decline in wild spawning stocks of chinook and coho salmon has focused attention not only on freshwater habitat loss and fishery-related impacts on the wild stocks, but on the genetic and demographic consequences of uncontrolled expansion of hatcheries as well.” Factors including fish size, decreased catch numbers, worries about reaching the oceans carrying capacity, genetic alterations, among other reasons have pushed us into concerns. Aside from a common trend of an escalated population followed by a drop, escaped fish began to stop producing correctly and efforts to support wild salmon instead of just producing mass hatchery born. This is the last of the four stages associated with hatchery fish. The first begins in 1800 and runs until 1970 which was the development stage. The second state was from 1970-1980 which was labeled the improvement stage; information became available on which techniques and how to produce the largest amount of healthy salmon. The industrial stage is third; where the most amounts of fish was released in all 5 areas of region, think of this as the “boom.” And lastly the concerned stage; this is where we are now as I was explaining. We are now focusing our attention on maintaining and increasing our wild salmon numbers and reassessing out salmon productivity.
This article was not written to persuade or suggest an answer; it was merely published to point out the facts. The fact is that even though survival rates aren’t always high and it seems like population seem to fall after they rise significantly…hatcheries have saved salmon from extinction. Wild stock has improved dramatically since the efforts to support them have started; however, chum salmon have shown no improvement. With the natural an inevitable changes that are now foreseen with the climate and ocean, we should start to incorporate this knowledge with the releases of fish. When there is a reduced Aleutian Low pressure, we shouldn’t discharge pink chum and salmon because they won’t survive! These fluctuations of the earth need to be addressed and taken into consideration for futures programs as well as the information we have learned about the coexistence of wild and hatchery living together. The authors give us a last thought let stir in our heads, “There is significant information available to warn us that the impacts of these hatchery fish on wild fish need to be evaluated in the same manner as we evaluate the impacts of introductions of man-made substances to any natural ecosystem and while there is still time to change practices if the impacts turn out to be alarming.”

Beamish, R. "Hatchery and Wild Production of Pacific Salmon in Relation to Large-scale, Natural Shifts in the Productivity of the Marine Environment." ICES Journal of Marine Science 54.6 (1997): 1200-215. Print.

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