Hatcheries

tenet

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I lifted this from Eddie McCarthy's weekly report. Reminds me of the late Peter Gray.

"As I was going about various chores this week I kept feeling that there was something missing. it then dawned on me that I would normally be setting up the Hatchery ! For some reason "science" decided that hatcheries were now a bad thing ! What I do know is that the Hatchery kept the Thurso river alive for many, many years. When the netting in the Estuary ceased in 2006 there was less need for it as there were more fish entering the system. However, the mass "extinction" of the Hatchery system is not only wrong but particularly stupid. Sure, there were hatcheries where the workers were bone idle and planted fry out in areas where there were plenty natural fry. But, most Hatcheries operated as they were meant to and fed the areas where there was a lack of fish spawning. I fear that we are becoming too clever for our own good and take the "science theory" over the word and experience of people who have worked on rivers for their lifetimes. As "science" can never be wrong, I wonder how, in twenty or so years, when the salmon population is almost decimated for other reasons, they will have to concede that they got it wrong and re-introduce the Hatchery system !!!"
 

HOWKEMOOT

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Up to recent my opinion tended to be against hatcheries.
I knew of the Thurso's operation and success through fishing there and meeting Eddie. Still I was sceptical. Now a few years further along I am beginning to think that hatcheries are beginning to look like the last remaining hope for our beleaguered salmon.
Previously I was concerned about maintaining the gene identity of each system. Now I am totally concerned about retaining salmon at all in our rivers. I won't bore anyone by recounting tales of large numbers from my youth.
A properly run hatchery operation can enhance a river and rescue it from oblivion that much I recognise, the side issues of individual river gene purity are melting away against a need to save to our salmon no matter the cost.
Or, do we have a total ban for a fixed period in the hope that the salmon recover ?

M
 
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goosander

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Science like most things in life agrees with those that pay it. If hatcheries made money then they would be on all rivers but as they cost money most river boards will be against them.
Personally I would like to see one on our river. The Tay board does a lot of work for the Earn socking the head waters but would prefer stock placed further downstream.
Having said that I still think that the biggest problem we have is the amount of F.E.B.s on the river Which is something we could deal with.
Bob.
 

Jockiescott

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It seems that there is no consensus, nor does it seem there will ever be, on the hatchery issue. But that is life. We have different opinions on everything from Brexit to abortion to euthanasia. No amount of words or shouting is likely to change the opinions of both sides of any argument and hatcheries are no different.

In my own personal view of a hatchery, the idea that I have in my head, is that a river could be stocked until such times as the river is able to sustain itself. Based on the science, I have not seen one instance where this has been achieved.
 

peterchilton

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Up to recent my opinion tended to be against hatcheries.
I knew of the Thurso's operation and success through fishing there and meeting Eddie. Still I was sceptical. Now a few years further along I am beginning to think that hatcheries are beginning to look like the last remaining hope for our beleaguered salmon.
Previously I was concerned about maintaining the gene identity of each system. Now I am totally concerned about retaining salmon at all in our rivers. I won't bore anyone by recounting tales of large numbers from my youth.
A properly run hatchery operation can enhance a river and rescue it from oblivion that much I recognise, the side issues of individual river gene purity are melting away against a need to save to our salmon no matter the cost.
Or, do we have a total ban for a fixed period in the hope that the salmon recover ?

M
Gene purity? Surely all our rivers are visited regularly by Salmon with an array of different genes from different rivers, Genetic purity is a hoax.
 

meyre

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Hatcheries!!? ...Stocking!!?...total abomination....or lifeline to struggling populations of salmonids?
We have been doing 'fish husbandry' since before Caesar turned up with his elephants and Nubian cavalry.
In 1903 Nth Uist received 120,000 salmon ova for 'distribution'...and many other sites likewise bought ova and later hatchlings from Maitland's Howietoun Fishery at Stirling. This was the source of New Zealand's trout and probably those of the rest of the Empire .
You are right , water boards don't like 'expensive', hard to justify smolt, parr, ova programmes.
What these programmes do deliver is greater emotional and ultimately practical attention to the stream and its environment. Such attention is as important as the possible returns of the farming effort. The community and those who fish the river feel 'invested'. A river with a hatchery encourages others to visit , to fish, to stay. A hatchery is like a share's dividend; not always affordable but always popular, offering a chance of a return. It will pay if only obliquely .
Read Malcolm Greenhalgh's piece on stocking in Fly Fishing and FT Nov 2019...it's rather agin hatcheries as far as the Ribble is concerned but does make a wise suggestion of 'ranching' smolts as in Iceland . Have smolt ponds and cart the smolts to be released at the mouth of the river...they dodge the cormorants and saw bills of the river, the drought of May/June or slurry/sludge/chemical runoff from intensive farms or leaky, underimproved sewage plants.
If you get a 1% return from 100k smolts that's 1000 returnees you'd not have otherwise.
I think the Wye would have liked that this year!
 

rotenone

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In my life time the only rivers that will have a enough salmon left to fish for them will be rivers with hatcheries of that I am sure, they need to be on rivers now so they can preserve the unique Genetics of the river, as the other issues are taken care of like predation and netting the revenue of the river by anglers who can actually catch something and see fish should be used to fund them, of course the short sightedness of a greedy few have no interest, we rant about catch and release but without significant help to boost numbers the money will be out of the game, catch and release and predator culls are fine once a river is financially sustaining itself, when the moneys gone out of salmon fishing unfortunately man moves on to something else to destroy.



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keirstream

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The hatchery discussion is a non starter with no end game. Government has seen to that.
Whether you support or oppose the idea, it matters not a jot particularly in Scotland where Scotgov/MSS have conspired to close all hatcheries to all intent and purposes by narrowing the parameters within which River Boards must comply. No main stem or tributary stocking is legally allowable nowadays, but only for restoration and mitigation, i.e. above man made structures or seeding newly opened and developed areas which in itself is controlled by S.N.H. red tape bureaucracy. In the Tay catchment that covers 5% of the hatchery output. So, there is little point in even discussing the subject matter.
Couple it with government control on piscivore culls then the salmon has a very gloomy future which is little to do with the "All At Sea" brigade.
 
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MCXFisher

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When in the early 1960s MAFF declared salmon extinct in the Ouse system I thought that I should never see salmon in Yorkshire ever again. The river on which my grandfather learned his fishing was no more.

Then the world changed. Thatcherite economics did away with highly polluting industries that had limped for decades with public subsidies. Unleaded petrol yielded the closure of the plant on the Humber that made the lead additive for old petrol. Privatisation and the passage of the Crown Proceedings Act 1984 forced entities that had previously been sheltered from litigation and prosecution blinking into the daylight of responsibility, especially the water companies and other nationalised industries. And beyond, EU regulations on water quality started to come into force: not universally effective, but better than what (hadn't) gone before.

We awoke in the mid-90s to a river system that no longer suffered gross pollution and de-oxygenation of its lower reaches. For the first time in decades it was physically possible for a salmon to swim up to York. It's likely that there had always been a few hardy survivors, but once the water was clean, the salmon came. One person found a dead spent 35lbs cock fish in a side stream; then another photographed a stream of fish going up Boroughbridge weir with a laser activated video camera; and then the pike fraternity started catching them. And behold, in 2011 I started catching them in quantity on a fly at an average of nearly 2 per day, including a few at 20+lbs.

The micro hatchery the came more recently to replace the spawning area lost to reservoir development played no core role in this recovery. They came back on their own.

Yes, we had some significant advantages. First, and most importantly, very clean catchment areas for spawning, much of them within the boundaries of a National Park. Second, our smolts don't have to migrate through the lice fog off the west coast of Scotland. Indeed, we suspect that some of our smolts migrate no further than the North Sea. Third, a truly enormous estuary that disperses smolts and adults alike, making them a harder target for predators. And a collection of people who really cared and were ready to put their effort and money to use.

No, the Ouse is not the Tweed or Tay, nor will it ever be. But its catchment is twice the size of the Tweed's, so there is potential there. After all, in the 1927 season the then Lord Bolton caught one ton of salmon to his own rod from the aptly named Lord's Pool at the bottom of his park.

So my prescription is clean headwaters and maximum accessible spawning area as the essential first steps. A hatchery might enable the achievement of critical mass, but without those steps any effort is wasted.
 

firefly

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As it has been explained before, and a thought to which I concur, hatcheries should be looked upon river by river and may well serve different purposes. The Norwegians have become quite good at this, I recently pointed out a 50 lb hatchery fish caught on the Aroy that sadly died trying to keep it for use in...the hatchery. So the Norwegians saw the genetic potential of this hatchery fish for future generations, again as pointed out for this particular river. Results all over Norway have underlined this way of thinking and anticipating.
Where I still can't get my head around is this foul farming industry getting away with using and breeding diploid fish whilst anyone involved in trout farming knows they are only allowed to breed triploid rainbow trout, for example. I can't help but thinking this powerful industry is let off the hook by interested parties in the cenacles of power and has a hidden agenda. Your wild gene pools are getting diluted since they started farming, all "incidental" escapees contribute to this degeneration. I often wonder when the day will come they can scientifically prove the pure wild gene is extinct. That'll be the day salmon anglers will be fishing for farmed clones and nothing but farmed clones. Let's be honest, if you get to know the devils, it's easy to see the win-win situation they are aiming at.
 
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MCXFisher

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What was the salmon rod catch in 2018?
I can't tell you specifically, but very poor would be a fair statement, as a result of a drought from March to October.

There are a string of rod fisheries spread along 60-70 miles of river, each with peak times in different months. The only people with a whole-river picture are the EA, subject of course to the limitations of individual reporting.

The 1 mile beat that I fish most often probably only scored 15 or so fish in 2018, compared to over 70 in 2011. Over the same period my personal count has been between a low of 2 in 2018 to a high of 28 in 2011.

As I said, it's not the Tweed!
 

SOS

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He who pays the piper calls the tune

If you hire a scientist to find out why hatcheries wont work he will come up with quite a few reasons why they wont work.
And like wise if you hire a scientist to find out what the benefits of a hatchery are he will come up with a list of them.
There probably are different genetic strains of Salmon but i think they make way to much of the genetic make up on any particular river and there is probably a lot more straying than we think,Does an angler really care of the genetic make up of a Salmon they catch.
Where did the fish that are running the Clyde,Mersey,Ouse,Tyne and other rivers come from that until recently had no or very little Salmon in them.
I.M.O. the problem that the scientists have with hatcheries is that there is only so much money river boards have at their disposal and the cost of opening and running a hatchery would come out of the funds that would other wise go to them,and also if it were found out to be the solution to increasing the Salmon stocks would there be a need for 1,2 or even 3 scientists/biologists per river plus all those employed by the governments so are they likely say hatcheries are a good thing if it means they might have to look for a new job?.
I do agree with MCX that clean rivers,streams and burns with plenty of good clean spawning gravel are vital for the survival of any Salmon whether they come from natural stock or hatchery stock.
 

meyre

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How much does it cost to run a hatchery, smolt pond, regenerationalisatory salmonid replacement unit ?
Please no ' piece of string responses ' just facts from Wye, Tyne, Llanidloes etc.
 

Wee-Eck

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Speaking as a Biologist and I have stated this on other threads over the years.
Increasing the numbers of prey species (in this case Salmon) without being able to control their predators (too many to mention individually) will increase the numbers of predators commensurate with the amount of food available to them. Until we have control of most of the predators hatcheries are a waste of money.
 

Loxie

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As it has been explained before, and a thought to which I concur, hatcheries should be looked upon river by river and may well serve different purposes. The Norwegians have become quite good at this, I recently pointed out a 50 lb hatchery fish caught on the Aroy that sadly died trying to keep it for use in...the hatchery. So the Norwegians saw the genetic potential of this hatchery fish for future generations, again as pointed out for this particular river. Results all over Norway have underlined this way of thinking and anticipating.
Where I still can't get my head around is this foul farming industry getting away with using and breeding diploid fish whilst anyone involved in trout farming knows they are only allowed to breed triploid rainbow trout, for example. I can't help but thinking this powerful industry is let off the hook by interested parties in the cenacles of power and has a hidden agenda. Your wild gene pools are getting diluted since they started farming, all "incidental" escapees contribute to this degeneration. I often wonder when the day will come they can scientifically prove the pure wild gene is extinct. That'll be the day salmon anglers will be fishing for farmed clones and nothing but farmed clones. Let's be honest, if you get to know the devils, it's easy to see the win-win situation they are aiming at.
I'm afraid you are incorrect about the Aaroy fish. They took it to the hatchery to recover and to take various samples. Had it survived it would have been returned to the river, not kept for broodstock.
 

meyre

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So what happened in Wales after the 2014 closures ?

Three salmon hatcheries could close in mid and north Wales under plans by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to stop stocking rivers.
Centres near Corwen, Dolgellau and Llanidloes could shut, while a fourth near Brecon could be converted into a research centre.
It follows a review that found the current policy of restocking rivers with salmon was ineffective.
Money from the sale of hatcheries could be used to improve fisheries...… "As a new organisation, we have an opportunity to think creatively about the best way to support fish stocks in the face of climate change so our rivers can continue to provide benefits to the wildlife, people and economy of Wales," Ceri Davies of NRW said.
 

peterchilton

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So what happened in Wales after the 2014 closures ?

Three salmon hatcheries could close in mid and north Wales under plans by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to stop stocking rivers.
Centres near Corwen, Dolgellau and Llanidloes could shut, while a fourth near Brecon could be converted into a research centre.
It follows a review that found the current policy of restocking rivers with salmon was ineffective.
Money from the sale of hatcheries could be used to improve fisheries...… "As a new organisation, we have an opportunity to think creatively about the best way to support fish stocks in the face of climate change so our rivers can continue to provide benefits to the wildlife, people and economy of Wales," Ceri Davies of NRW said.
Well one thing is for sure, they have not thought creatively about anything much, neither NRW or WUF.

Abercynrig Hatchery, the one that supplied parr for the Wye, is still open and manned and they still hatch things just not necessarily salmon. I do believe that the money that supported the hatchery from Welsh Water? (mitigation stocking for the loss of the area above Elan Dams) is now being spent by WUF/ NRW on 'alternative mitigation', it would be interesting to see what benefits that has had in real terms for salmon but sadly it looks like more habitat gardening and funding NRW's obligations or their 'day job' as i put it.
 
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cgaines10

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The genetic strain thing is used when it suits them. The Kielder hatchery for the Tyne was used with fish from Scotland rivers & it is well known that Salmon have a straying ability built in to them. That's why we see rivers that have no salmon re populating once they're clean enough.

We are trying to get a hatchery for the Tees and the EA will not have it, yet just up the road the Tyne has been stocking for how long?! as i said, were it suits.

We've took the cost burden out of it & they still don't want to know.

The hatchery on the Tyne is obligated to stock 160k yet most years it is around 400-600k. You cant tell me that 10% couldn't be used for the Wear & Tees.
 
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meyre

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Aye cgaines ….'' The genetic strain thing is used when it suits them. ''
I recall ...probably from Augustus Grimble's 1912 ' The Salmon Rivers of England and Wales' that following the collapse of the Wye's stock , due to excessive netting, at the turn of the 19th/20th C. fish /ova from the Rhine were employed to help restock the Wye..good deep fish.
Interestingly on visiting Switzerland in late 90's the Rhine salmon hatchery near Chur was using, looking to use Wye fish along with Norwegian wild fish for the 'return' of salmon to the Rhine.
Yes the genetic thing is a load of cod! Or rather a pleasing and logical position which is not always possible to maintain.
 

firefly

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I'm afraid you are incorrect about the Aaroy fish. They took it to the hatchery to recover and to take various samples. Had it survived it would have been returned to the river, not kept for broodstock.
Thanks for the correction, strange way to recover a fish though, when DNA/scale samples can be taken on the spot. Do you know what other samples they took and for what reason?
 

SOS

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Speaking as a Biologist and I have stated this on other threads over the years.
Increasing the numbers of prey species (in this case Salmon) without being able to control their predators (too many to mention individually) will increase the numbers of predators commensurate with the amount of food available to them. Until we have control of most of the predators hatcheries are a waste of money.
So does this mean it is also a waste of time doing anything to the rivers and the habitat to try and increase the Salmon numbers if all it does is increase the predators.I would have thought that if you double the output of smolts you might not get double the returns but it should increase them to some extent.
 

meyre

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We are the greatest predator. 35 yrs in fisheries has shewn me just how good we are. There is now, according to the biologists but 1% of the Continental biomass of table fish that existed before the end of the 19thC.....but Wee-eck is right my Shetland nephews no longer harpoon, skin and eat seal, nor do they gun cormorants for picking nets...but before us there were many seals and probably pterodactyls.
All the world is 'managed' by us and so smolts and hatcheries are but an adaption to necessity.
we just have to outpace , side step , the competition.
 
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