Chinook fry found to replace lost fish

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Dennis Clay

Remember this from last week’s Hunting and Fishing report?

Chinook fry lost after power outage

As many as 6.2 million chinook salmon fry died last weekend when a windstorm cut power to the Minter Creek Hatchery in Pierce County and the facility’s backup generator failed.

The department is conducting an analysis to determine the root cause of what went wrong, so this doesn’t happen again, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Good news. Fish and Wildlife has found around 2.75 million chinook fry to replace the lost fish.

The fry are headed to the Minter Creek Hatchery in Pierce County in an effort to replace salmon lost during a Dec. 14 power outage at the facility.

Fish and Wildlife received approval Friday from NOAA Fisheries, the agency that oversees federally listed salmon, to use excess chinook from six other hatcheries for release from Minter Creek and Tumwater Falls next May and June.

Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind said several tribal co-managers have already agreed to the transfer, as required by NOAA-Fisheries.

These fry won’t fully replace the salmon lost last week, but it will allow us to put a significant number of fish into these waters next year, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife estimates 5.7 million fall chinook fry and 507,000 spring chinook fry were lost when a windstorm knocked out power to the Minter Creek Hatchery earlier this month. The facility’s backup generator also failed to start, cutting power to the pump that supplies water to incubators where the fry were held.

The half-million spring chinook lost at Minter Creek were part of the state’s early efforts to increase production of chinook to feed the dwindling population of southern resident orcas. The department is, however, increasing chinook production at other hatcheries to help with that effort.

Dennis note: As stated last week: Perhaps they should check the backup generator once a week or once a day. Oh, and get busy reducing the sea lion population.

So, here we have an endangered species, sea lions, eating endangered chinook salmon. What to do? And it is reported the endangered orcas, killer whales, are having trouble finding one of their favorite foods, the chinook.

Reduce the lion population, increase the release of chinook fry and feed those orcas.

Seasons end

The late fall turkey season will end Dec. 31, as will the forest grouse season. The pheasant, quail and partridge seasons continue through Jan. 21.

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