Wild vs. Hatchery Issue Clouds Salmon's Fate

November 28, 2001


A federal judge in Oregon told the National Marine Fisheries Service on Sept. 10, 2001, to either define a genetic difference between wild and hatchery fish or reconsider protecting the wild fish under the Endangered Species Act. After NMFS delisted one strain of coho salmon, several more cases have followed the original suit as a way to eliminate protections for the beleaguered fish in other watersheds.

The case was brought in response to footage of hatchery managers killing returning salmon that originated in a hatchery on Oregon's Alsea River. Northwest Tribes and many anglers are upset at the slaughter, although biologists and an increasing number of politicians say the hatchery fish harm the more genetically valuable -- and vulnerable -- wild ones.

  • Good background: Robert McClure's "Do hatchery salmon help or harm the wild ones?" Nov. 12, 2001, Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  • Native Fish Society: Bill Bakke, 503-977-0287.
  • NMFS: Robin Waples, 206-860-3254.
  • Jim Lichatowich, independent salmon biologist, author, "Salmon Without Rivers," 503-366-6959.
  • Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission: Chuck Hudson (PR), 503-731-1257; Don Sampson (exec. dir.), 503-238-0667.
  • Pacific Legal Foundation: Russell Brooks, 425-576-0484.
  • Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund: Patti Goldman or Kristin Boyles, 206-343-7340.