What are “surplus” hatchery salmon?
“Surplus” hatchery salmon are fish that return to hatcheries in numbers greater than needed for broodstock. Ideally, recreational and commercial fishers in Washington should catch these fish. But that is not always possible, given the large variations in salmon returns and migration year by year. This year, for example, survival rates for hatchery fish are believed to have been greater because of improved ocean conditions. Stricter harvest regulations aimed at protecting wild salmon have also allowed larger numbers of hatchery fish to return uncaught. What happens to these surplus fish? All are put to good use, but how depends on the species, numbers returning, condition of the fish, the watershed in which the hatchery is located, available natural spawning areas above and below the hatchery, fishing regulations and the specific fishery management plan for each facility. The options include: Natural Spawning – In various locations, fish are allowed to pass by the hatchery and travel up