Criticizing fish hatcheries is pointless

It’s a slap in the face to thousands of volunteers, says reader

Re: Living in a future without wild salmon (Other Views, June 25)

I’m responding to the opinion piece regarding fish hatcheries which inferred hatcheries were a poor investment and harmful to wild salmon.

I was surprised at the timing of this article considering our Fraser River chinook stocks are in a crisis resulting in decreased feeding opportunities for the southern resident killer whales, a collapse of the recreational, commercial and First Nation fisheries, and no solutions coming from the Department of Fisheries or federal politicians.

We can only attempt to restore salmon stocks with an immediate and aggressive program which would increase the stocks in systems needing help and eliminate obstacles preventing their survival.

Hatcheries and habitat restoration are needed to increase the stocks, fish farms located on migratory routes should be eliminated, pinnipeds in spawning systems should be harvested and recreational, commercial and First Nations fisheries should be curtailed.

Simply promoting habitat restoration and criticizing hatcheries is pointless and an absolute slap in the face for the hundreds and perhaps thousands of dedicated volunteers that are keeping our stocks alive.

Under Premier John Horgan’s instructions the province recently offered to fund and operate a mass marking machine which would attempt to fin clip the 18 million hatchery chinook smolts produced in the Salish Sea.

It was hoped that the returning stocks could be immediately identified by the missing adipose fins allowing the wild stocks to spawn naturally leaving the hatchery Chinook for genetic pairing and a greater survival rate. This offer was flatly turned down by the Federal Department of Fisheries who have adopted the management plan of “same old, same old”

Fishers in all sectors have been severely curtailed and stocks continue to plummet. The men and women that volunteer for habitat restoration and hatchery work are heroes in the salmon world and deserve all our support, including the authors of the negative opinion piece.

Mike Hicks

Regional Director

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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