Friday, October 8, 2010

Chinook Restoration - for our health

You never hear enough Good news!

Salmon spawning under way at Feather River Hatchery

By MARY WESTON - Staff Writer

Click photo to enlarge
Bill Husa/Staff Photos California Dept. of Fish and Game Wildlife Technician Mike Lasagna...
OROVILLE — After a two-year drop-off in the salmon run on the Feather River, thousands of spring and fall run chinook salmon are swarming up the fish ladders to be spawned at the Feather River Fish Hatchery. Crews began spawning salmon this week, with the goal of harvesting 12 million eggs.
Hatchery manager Anna Kastner said they had already harvested 2.3 million spring run salmon eggs and 4.3 million fall run salmon eggs by the end of the day on Wednesday.
"I hope everyone else gets as many," Kastner said Thursday, as she stored eggs in trays to incubate. "Anyway, we're happy."
It's too early to tell how hatcheries on other rivers are doing because they aren't at full operation yet, said Harry Morse, public information officer for California Department of Fish and Game.
"This is a first salmon spawning operation with lots and lots of fish this year," Morse said. "It's been bad news for two years, and this year it's good news."
Thursday, busloads of schoolchildren came to the hatchery to learn how salmon are spawned.
Spring run chinook swim up the river in the spring. The fish hole up in the river and spawn from September to October, Morse said.
Salmon have been swimming up the fish


ladders since the gates opened on Sept. 16. The hatchery has to spawn 7,000 salmon to meet its goals, but all the fish that come to the hatchery are spawned to collect data and track the genetic diversity of the fish. Thursday afternoon, about 7,000 fish were still waiting in the fish ladders. The fish are taken into the hatchery from holding tanks. Hundreds of squirming salmon at a time fall into a tank in the spawning room where they are anesthetized.
Then workers put the fish in a metal run where they are taken to a worker who checks them to see if they are ready.
Fish ready to spawn are placed in a device that instantly kills them.
Then the fish are thrown on a large tray where a worker slits the female fish open and removes the eggs by hand. The eggs are placed in a bucket. Then the worker squeezes milk from the male salmon onto the eggs.
Scale samples and genetic samples are taken from the fish to collect data about the sex and species of each fish. Wire codes. Fish heads are cut off with wire codes and stored in plastic bags to study factors about the fishes' migration.
The fertilized eggs are tested for disease and stored in trays in the incubation room.
In about 32 to 45 days, the eggs hatch. The fish are raised in long tanks behind the hatchery until they are four to six inches long. The goal is to have 10 million young salmon to stock in the river next spring.
Fish and Game will plant 2 million spring run and eight million fall-run salmon from April through June next year. The young fish will swim to the ocean until it's time for them to return to the Feather River to spawn.
If the salmon spawn naturally in the river, the females dig a hole and lay the eggs, then a male salmon fertilizes the eggs and the female covers them up.
Then both the male and female fish die, said Andrew Aughan, a Fish and Game information officer from Southern California, who was at the hatchery Thursday training.
Aughan said fish biologists study the salmon migration and spawning, but it's still a mystery.
"We don't really know why all this happens, and they go back to the same place on the river to spawn," Aughan said.
Fish and Game's goal is to ensure the species continues, Aughan said, but it's also to protect the economy.
Aughan said the commercial economy that revolves around the salmon is hundreds of millions of dollars for everything from fishing licenses, to fishing gear and boats.

Staff writer Mary Weston can be reached at 533-3135 or

David Peterson
Great news to hear Chinook have recovered, a bit.
Heard the Feds outlawed Steelhead hatchery on the Cosumnes.

We need to open up more habitat for Chinook!
More Ladders
More ideal environment for spawning, gravel beds, fresh snow/glacial melts.
More clean clear pathways to/from Ocean
Guaranteed water for spawning, regardless of other demands for water.

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful that we are restoring these fish, when we have destroyed their natural habitat with dams. Instead of waisting our resources we should build shoots and ladders to let the salmon spawn naturally, and use the people who are hard at work for other important projects.


Share your comments and share your True Identity, give your views the influence they deserve. You are encourage to link to your blog, website or Facebook profile so that your viewpoint illustrates the full context and weight merited.