Where did the BC fish go? The story of the missing hatchery fish continues…

If you are unaware, there has been perhaps a big breakthrough regarding those disappearing stocks of salmon. Of course I’m talking about those BC hatchery fish. You’ve seen the news stories for years and years now. They keep release BC hatchery fish but the returns kept getting more and more dismal.

Well I was watching CTV BC news the other night and thought nothing of a story about a scientist who made some discoveries regarding hatchery vs wild salmon. In particular, this scientist wondered what the effect was on hatchery salmon and the adipose fin that is removed. Essentially he set out to answer the question, “What effect does removing the adipose fin on BC hatchery have”. He found a startling discovery.

He discovered that BC salmon with the adipose fin worked less than those fish without. So it essentially makes swimming harder for a salmon when that adipose fin is removed. Of course they also included an interview with a fellow from the hatchery who said the removing of the adipose fin is the most efficient and harmless method to keep track of hatchery vs wild salmon. He defended the practice by saying we’ve been doing with with hatchery fish for 50 years. Okay, let me challenge that.

I think this is a huge discovery and I do not think it is out there yet. These findings are not out there quite yet because I feel that this is actually the answer to the age old question. Where do the salmon go? But to counter the argument by the hatchery fellow, I would strongly suggest he’s thinking about it too simplistically. Sure for years the hatchery program worked by removing the adipose. Seemed perfect. Then what? BC hatcheries kept releasing fish and the returns were terrible. So look outside the box here. Perhaps those outside variable, as in water temperature, actually putting extra stress on the hatchery fish. More effort to swim, more succeptable to prey like whales and seals. Can’t escape? Get caught. But who knows out there. The fact is the water temperatures in the BC waters has increased. It’s quite possible that the feed the salmon need was close, but the warmer water means they have to travel farther. So those variables could play right into the theory that removing the adipose fin means those fish have to work a lot harder to get where they want.

Beyond the analysis, and to get a bit deeper, it would seem that most creatures in this world are built the same way. Most of our parts have a purpose. You might get away with removing something, but when you do, you’re messing with nature. I don’t think we are created with “removable” parts. Our hatchery BC salmon may be the living proof of this.

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5 Responses to Where did the BC fish go? The story of the missing hatchery fish continues…

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