Controversial Oregon Hatchery Gains New Life

October 19, 2005 By: Marshall Cutchin

Reopening on the site of Fall Creek Fish Hatchery, which polarized conservationists and government officials in the late 90s, the new $7.8 million Oregon Hatchery Research Center is avoiding controversy in its public statements. The hatchery was the hotspot in the debate among pacific salmon advocates over the damage hatchery-raised fish were causing to wild salmon populations. It also led to a federal court ruling that lumped wild and hatchery-raised salmon together for protection under the Endangered Species Act, lowering the importance of wild salmon in the total count.
“Hatchery fish make up about 80 percent of Pacific salmon populations, but for years, scientists have recognized that hatchery practices had hurt wild salmon by moving fish to different watersheds, diluting gene pools, spreading diseases and producing fish that were less able to survive in the wild.” Jeff Barnard in the Seattle Times.