Hatcheries

peterchilton

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Same has happened on the Wye, 23 years of habitat gardening and over £10 million spent and once they close the hatcheries the catches drop off the graph. Oddly we have no smolt counters to find out how effective the 'habitat gardening ' has been, its as if the people doing the work don't want to know, success, to them, is a completed project!
 

long Preston

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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

For me the comment about the tales of large number of salmon is the critical one-the rivers of my youth-sadly 50 years ago teemed with salmon and seatrout and never saw a hatchery or any fish from elsewhere-why would they? they have declined to the point where at least 2 of the 5 I used to fish are now pretty much a lost cause yet water quality has largely stayed the same.

IMHO sea survival is the issue and unless and until that changes piling large numbers of fish into the river only to die at sea makes no sense-I may of course be wrong ....
 

Jockiescott

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I apologise if I come across as sceptical and anti hatchery in my posts. My opinions are based on the information local to me.

I don't want to get into the "Bush data" again but this is one of the few rivers here that operate a large scale hatchery.

All adults are trapped a few miles from the sea, some are kept for the hatchery and the rest allowed to carry on up river. I am not sure to what stage the juveniles are grown on to or released at.

All the smolts leaving the river again are trapped, counted, and allowed then the head for the sea. It is probably the best data collected on any river in the UK.

Apparently, smolts numbers are healthy but returning adult numbers reached an all time low in the early 2010s.

On my own river, a smolt trap is used in the spring to catch them on their outward migration. This is placed at the outflow of the fish pass of a dam to catch as many as possible. Since this started around 5 years ago, the numbers of smolts recorded has risen every year but the numbers of adults counted on the fish counter hasn't altered much.

It would seem that my river in particular has no real issues in producing smolts. The problem seems to be getting adults back again.

Still many anglers would like a hatchery on my river in an attempt to catch more salmon.

The information I saw for the delphi hatchery stated that the number of hatchery reared fish landed each year was between 200-250.

Given that there's 800+ members in my angling club, that might only mean one extra fish a season for a quarter of the members.

The money talked about at that time too was extremely high. Our members already feel the membership cost is too high.

The Foyle system will never return the eye watering days of the mid 90s but it is doing OK. The idea that hatcheries coukd be used in an attempt to get those numbers back again is clutching at straws, at best.
 

woodcockandsewin

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I have been salmon fishing for over 40 years. There will probably be people on this forum who have fished for longer.
The majority of my fishing years the rivers, Dee,Spey, Tay, Tay system
all had hatcheries of some sort. Maybe someone has better info of the amount
of hatcheries that were run. Thurso etc all had them at one time.
My point is, no one was bothered about the genetics of wild fish then
and we weren't in the predicament we are in now.
Yes there were some poor years, but they would bounce back because they were still stocking.


And MAYBE it was the hatcheries that emphasized the decline. Who KNOWS?
 
D

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When it comes to preserving and/or restoring wild salmon populations the ambition should be NOT to have a hatchery on your river, NOT EVER. As has been said many times, hatcheries are a tool, like there are many tools to help nature. Hatcheries should be looked upon as a means of preserving and/or restoring wild genes, hence the broodstock importance, and NOT as an easy way to get more catchable fish in the river.

What still puzzles me is the absence of reaction to the fact that the salmon farming industry is using and breeding FERTILE fish as we speak. They are a clear and present danger to the genetic degradation everyone is talking about. I propose a first small step: take all these scientific papers proving the danger, take Verspoor et al. to the powers that be and shove them under their noses and make this industry bow to the rules already applied onto others. Make them walk in line if they want to walk beside us.

I'm not even going to begin about the fact we force our wives to take 365 pills a year to prevent pregnancy when there are less polluting ways of doing that, because that is a huge step for mankind and men in particular. It would help the water and the salmon, though.
 
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Grassy_Knollington

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Yes, it all goes around in a big circle! For my own part I am a fishery scientist and a lifelong fisherman. I became interested in the fish themselves, particularly salmon and sea trout, and became a scientist to learn more about them. I am still learning all the time and am amazed almost daily by the complexity in natural processes and how the fish persist. I value the fish for their own sake and yet still like to fish for them and place great value on the traditions of salmon fishing. It is relatively easy to ‘make’ salmon in their millions in hatcheries but am I being selfish by just wanting them there so I can catch some/more? Personally, I do not want to do things that place the future of the wild salmon at too great a risk. I wonder if all the time I spent helping to operate hatcheries did harm or good. I suspect I could give examples of both if I put my mind to it.At the end of the day each of us has to make judgement calls and get on with things. As someone nearly said: maintaining healthy salmon populations is not rocket science - it is far more complicated than that!

Great post Kylesider.

So many folk want to see the situation as black and white, when in reality the situation is far more complex. I think most folk with a brain agree that where the habitat is right, a hatchery is likely to be superfluous. Having done some (but not a lot) of reading around the subject, I can also understand the negative impacts of large scale hatcheries, such as those seen on the Pacific Coast of the USA and Canada. I'm not sure that many hatchery operations (especially on large rivers) are cost effective, they can mask serious problems with environmental factors and returns from the sea can be cripplingly low.

On the other hand, I do think that the current regulatory consensus against hatcheries on the basis of potential harm to the natural stock is a bit lazy and based on very shakey primary evidence; (specifically concerning Atlantic Salmon in the UK at least). I'm not convinced that we fully understand how genes are expressed and how environmental factors influence this expression. While we do have some apparently very specific genetic populations, FASMOP also showed that in many cases the fish share similar characteristics across catchment and system areas.

We seem to accept mitigation stocking where man has damaged productivity by damming a river, yet we don't seem to able to easily make the leap towards stocking where man has irreparably damaged productivity through pollution, or other environmental factors - or acknowledge where stocking and hatcheries could help tangibly increase catches, while having minimal apparent impact on the environment. I don't know anything about the Cree, but in common with the Carron, it may show the utility of hatchery operations on small systems, which are much more vulnerable to the one-off silage spills, acid washes, catastrophic floods which can wipe out a generation of eggs, +1 and +2 parr at a stroke.

Is it selfish for us to play with nature just so we can catch more fish? Well, we are currently farming millions of tonnes of mutated fish offshore, we have completely messed up the natural hydrology in many of our most productive systems, we abstract and discharge at will and we are only just waking up to the potential consequences of years of pesticide use. We had a serious disease outbreak in the North of Scotland this year and no mandatory controls were put in place to prevent spread through tackle or individuals. In this environment I think the risk to the wild fish from a well-run and well-scaled hatchery operation is minimal.

I'm not sure that such operations will meet the expectations of those who call loudest for hatcheries, but I don't see the harm in letting them try - as long as they work out the finance and follow a set of rules designed to minimize the impact of their work.

As Mills and Greasser wrote in 1992, the Tay DSFB expected 1.5 million Ova to generate 30k Smolts from the Braan. Take off a generous 20% for in-river losses and a 5% marine survival and we'd see 1200 returns to the river, of which, realistically we'd expect 120-360 to the rods on a well fished river. Hardly life changing numbers and a more holistic approach to the 'ranching' is needed to give the numbers I think folk expect.
 

charlieH

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The pure DNA (genetic integrity) stuff is a hoax

Going back a bit, I'm not sure this claim should be allowed to pass without question. Is there any evidence for it?

I'm sure we all accept that some salmon stray - anyone who claimed that there was never any natural mixing of populations would certainly be laying themselves open to ridicule. I've never been clear as to the extent of straying, and haven't ever managed to find any research that quantifies it. I think the figure of 10% is widely quoted, but so far as I'm aware that was nothing more than a thumbsuck figure from Falkus.

For my part, I try not to talk of genetic integrity; it risks being interpreted (especially by the literal minded) as meaning that a population is 100% pure and ring fenced. But I think there may nevertheless be value in the notion of genetic distinctiveness. I'm sure that you will acknowledge that fish from different rivers can look different - I think Wye gillies used to reckon they could spot Usk fish, for example, and on the Spey people will sometimes identify fish as having originated from the Avon, its principal tributary, on the strength of their body shape. At a more scientific level, I recall there was some research carried out on the Tana, which I think identified about thirteen distinct populations in different parts of that very large system, based on their DNA.

Obviously it would be surprising if there was no intermingling between these populations, and similarly there are some fish that end up breeding in the wrong river. But I think most of us accept that the great majority of fish still return to their natal river, and possibly even to the same tributary or area of the river too.

Does a degree of straying (whether 10% or whatever) render the notion of genetic distinctiveness void? The fact that there are a few exceptions to a general rule doesn't mean that there is no validity in that rule. Surely that would be bit like saying that, because there is a small proportion of the human race who have only one leg, or indeed no legs at all, the simple statement that humans have two legs is a 'hoax'!
 

Wee-Eck

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Genes are constantly changing in all species by mutation. If a mutation is beneficial and enhances that species survival it will be passed on to its progeny who will in turn pass it on to theirs. If the mutation is detrimental then the animal with the deficient gene will be less successful and less likely to breed and pass on the defective gene. That is how species adapt to changing circumstances eg. climate change. So 'genetic integrity' is really a bit of a misnomer.
 

peterchilton

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Interesting article on the repopulation of the Mersey by fish from a number of different rivers via straying, maybe you are going to suggest that they only stray into rivers that have no salmon?

The origins of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) recolonizing the River Mersey in northwest England

Genetic Integrity in Salmon was wrong and was also a Hoax - A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgement, rumours, urban legends, pseudosciences, and April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.
 

Jockiescott

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Interesting article on the repopulation of the Mersey by fish from a number of different rivers via straying, maybe you are going to suggest that they only stray into rivers that have no salmon?

The origins of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) recolonizing the River Mersey in northwest England

Genetic Integrity in Salmon was wrong and was also a Hoax - A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgement, rumours, urban legends, pseudosciences, and April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.

Perhaps man's intent on playing God has ballsed up the genetic integrity.

Given that the salmon on my river faughan look very different to those on the river roe, about 10 miles apart, there has to be something that makes faughan salmon look the way they do as opposed to Roe salmon. If its not genetics then what is it?

Some rivers in Scotland were stocked with Norwegian fry and smolts. Stock from the kielder hatchery was used to stock rivers the length and breadth of England. Stock from the Bush hatchery was sent throughout Ireland. It seems like basic common sense to suggest that this is one of the reasons that there is no constant genetic purity for each river.

Many people feel that this mixed genetics could be a contributing factor to declines within their own rivers.
 
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charlieH

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Interesting article on the repopulation of the Mersey by fish from a number of different rivers via straying, maybe you are going to suggest that they only stray into rivers that have no salmon?

The origins of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) recolonizing the River Mersey in northwest England

Thank you for posting that. In particular, I was struck by the second paragraph of the introduction, and I think it's worth quoting in full:

"Largely because of their iconic status and commercial value, huge amounts of money have been spent on reversing this downward trend, and a large proportion of this funding has been channeled through the controversial measure of stocking with hatchery-bred fish (Milner et al. 2004; Fraser 2008). Despite a clear lack of evidence regarding the success of stocking practices (e.g., Finnegan and Stevens 2008; Fraser 2008; McGinnity et al. 2009), it continues to be seen as a rapid solution to declining fish numbers by a significant number of fishery managers. Yet, in the light of genetic advances, stocking has come under further scrutiny as the limitations and, in many cases, negative impacts of the practice on the genetic diversity and population structure of endemic populations are revealed (Ayllon et al. 2006; Hutchings and Fraser 2008; Griffiths et al. 2009)."

Genetic Integrity in Salmon was wrong and was also a Hoax - A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgement, rumours, urban legends, pseudosciences, and April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.

To be clear, is it the notion of strict, 100% genetic integrity that you regard as a hoax? And if so, who has perpetrated that hoax?

Secondly, even if you reject the notion of genetic integrity, do you accept that genetic distinctiveness exists in salmon populations?
 

peterchilton

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Of course we are all genetically distinctive but more important is the genetic fluidity perpetrated by events and anomalies or faults that may be positive, and be the stuff that evolution is made of, additionally the effect of quantum biology on DNA has not been addressed at all by any of these scientists who if you read the papers suggested by the EA rarely come to a conclusion preferring to state that more research is necessary. So who is fooling who?
I question them all, some major on mate choice but as I explained before how can this be a problem, surely wild prime hens wouldn't choose a hatchery male that was so poor in the DNA stakes? So if there are DNA problems caused by hatcheries they are only perpetuated by the hatchery adults and their offspring and how long does it take for the DNA to resolve?
 

peterchilton

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On genetic distinctiveness in salmon populations, i ask how can that be if they are constantly breeding with strays? There may be some that are landlocked etc that may remain genetically distinctive as a population.
 
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Sarcy

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Genes are constantly changing in all species by mutation. If a mutation is beneficial and enhances that species survival it will be passed on to its progeny who will in turn pass it on to theirs. If the mutation is detrimental then the animal with the deficient gene will be less successful and less likely to breed and pass on the defective gene. That is how species adapt to changing circumstances eg. climate change. So 'genetic integrity' is really a bit of a misnomer.

At last . Some blindingly obvious commonsense Summed up in one concise paragraph. Not much else to say really unless you just want to keep on talking for the sake of it.
 

Kylesider

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Interesting article on the repopulation of the Mersey by fish from a number of different rivers via straying, maybe you are going to suggest that they only stray into rivers that have no salmon?

The origins of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) recolonizing the River Mersey in northwest England

Genetic Integrity in Salmon was wrong and was also a Hoax - A hoax is a falsehood deliberately fabricated to masquerade as the truth. It is distinguishable from errors in observation or judgement, rumours, urban legends, pseudosciences, and April Fools' Day events that are passed along in good faith by believers or as jokes.

I was struggling to understand how, given that population structuring is a hoax, the scientists could decide which rivers the stray salmon had come from (apart from the ones with strings of French onions hung around their gills or clutching Spanish donkeys in their mouths, obviously). Then it struck me: the Mersey report is a post truth hoax perpetrated to counteract the original genetic structuring hoax. Happens all the time.
 

Loxie

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I was struggling to understand how, given that population structuring is a hoax, the scientists could decide which rivers the stray salmon had come from (apart from the ones with strings of French onions hung around their gills or clutching Spanish donkeys in their mouths, obviously). Then it struck me: the Mersey report is a post truth hoax perpetrated to counteract the original genetic structuring hoax. Happens all the time.

Ah and here is the rub eh?! Why do you go to the Alta for big fish? Or the Wye etc.. I fish two neighbouring rivers in Scotland. One produces mainly grilse one salmon. Why? It's a bit tricky without some genetic thing, surely?

One of the reasons this keeps coming up is there is no answer.. Every system is different, trying to bolt one solution on to everything is doomed to failure.
 

keirstream

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Ah and here is the rub eh?! Why do you go to the Alta for big fish? Or the Wye etc.. I fish two neighbouring rivers in Scotland. One produces mainly grilse one salmon. Why? It's a bit tricky without some genetic thing, surely?

*******s. Name them.:)
 

Grassy_Knollington

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Ah and here is the rub eh?! Why do you go to the Alta for big fish? Or the Wye etc.. I fish two neighbouring rivers in Scotland. One produces mainly grilse one salmon. Why? It's a bit tricky without some genetic thing, surely?

One of the reasons this keeps coming up is there is no answer.. Every system is different, trying to bolt one solution on to everything is doomed to failure.

Individual populations clearly exist. What we don’t know is how much of the Phenotype (observable characteristics) is driven by Genotype (DNA sequences). We also don’t know how many of these characteristics (Grilse / MSW, thin / fat) are immutable genetic inheritance, or more flexible expressions which are driven by environmental factors.

If you take a couple of Alta fish and stick them in Iceland how long will the fish continue to return as MSW giants?

For how long did stocking with Leven fish improve the average size of hill Koch trout?

I’ve no idea, but it’s worth thinking about.
 

Kylesider

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Ah and here is the rub eh?! Why do you go to the Alta for big fish? Or the Wye etc.. I fish two neighbouring rivers in Scotland. One produces mainly grilse one salmon. Why? It's a bit tricky without some genetic thing, surely?

One of the reasons this keeps coming up is there is no answer.. Every system is different, trying to bolt one solution on to everything is doomed to failure.

Shin fish were sent all over the place from our hatchery since Victorian times because they were always considered a big fish strain. Put them in acidic conditions however and they are useless - unlike the Oykel fish. They have evolved differently.
 

midgydug

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I am lost with all the science and genetic talk that has filled this thread. The fact that we on our 12th page
shows that a lot of people have their own ideas, which is a good thing.
I'm no scientists I don't know whats right or wrong, but I do know that you shouldn't believe all what you
hear or read by our so called experts.
The whitefish of the north sea in some scientific reports were all but extinct, the british public were told
there were hardly any cod left in the north sea, ask any Peterhead fishermen if they think that is correct.
There was a recent study on wild Hares where the report said there were a massive decline in numbers.
I know for a fact that the guy doing the survey did it during a bright sunny day, spotting from a vehicle.
That was the report that was submitted so that's what we are all to believe.
If the guy had gone out with a thermal at night he would have maybe got a truer picture.
Scientific evidence is welcome/ but they have to work with/listen to the people on the river, i.e ghillies and anglers.
I would believe and listen to a ghillie that's been on the river for many years rather than a young fisheries person
that's been given a load of data to follow.
They have surveyed, tagged, counted, cleaned up rivers for several years now and the fish numbers are still declining !!!
Maybe I'm being selfish but I don't mind if I catch a truly wild fish or a hatchery reared one, would anyone know the difference ?
The people that's paying huge money to fish in Iceland on some of these hatchery run rivers aren't complaining.
On the Ranga for example, when the first runs came back from their first hatchery programme , did they stop the hatchery
incase the hatchery fish interfered with the returning "wild " fish ?
 

Kylesider

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I am lost with all the science and genetic talk that has filled this thread. The fact that we on our 12th page
shows that a lot of people have their own ideas, which is a good thing.
I'm no scientists I don't know whats right or wrong, but I do know that you shouldn't believe all what you
hear or read by our so called experts.
The whitefish of the north sea in some scientific reports were all but extinct, the british public were told
there were hardly any cod left in the north sea, ask any Peterhead fishermen if they think that is correct.
There was a recent study on wild Hares where the report said there were a massive decline in numbers.
I know for a fact that the guy doing the survey did it during a bright sunny day, spotting from a vehicle.
That was the report that was submitted so that's what we are all to believe.
If the guy had gone out with a thermal at night he would have maybe got a truer picture.
Scientific evidence is welcome/ but they have to work with/listen to the people on the river, i.e ghillies and anglers.
I would believe and listen to a ghillie that's been on the river for many years rather than a young fisheries person
that's been given a load of data to follow.
They have surveyed, tagged, counted, cleaned up rivers for several years now and the fish numbers are still declining !!!
Maybe I'm being selfish but I don't mind if I catch a truly wild fish or a hatchery reared one, would anyone know the difference ?
The people that's paying huge money to fish in Iceland on some of these hatchery run rivers aren't complaining.
On the Ranga for example, when the first runs came back from their first hatchery programme , did they stop the hatchery
incase the hatchery fish interfered with the returning "wild " fish ?

Why would they? The habitat on the Ranga is such that there is little wild production. As you say though there are plenty of options for people who are happy to fish for ranched fish. Not sure the economic models of those types of fisheries could be rolled out everywhere though.
 

Jockiescott

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You have your mind made up midgydug and no one is trying to change it. Just because you have your own beliefs and opinions doesn't mean that someone with a differing opinion is wrong as no one knows.

You say that you wouldn't care if a salmon was wild or hatchery reared. I certainly would care and many others feel the same.

When salmon fishing becomes the reared pheasant shooting of the game fishing world, my rods will never leave the shed.
 

Loxie

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I am lost with all the science and genetic talk that has filled this thread. The fact that we on our 12th page
shows that a lot of people have their own ideas, which is a good thing.
I'm no scientists I don't know whats right or wrong, but I do know that you shouldn't believe all what you
hear or read by our so called experts.
The whitefish of the north sea in some scientific reports were all but extinct, the british public were told
there were hardly any cod left in the north sea, ask any Peterhead fishermen if they think that is correct.
There was a recent study on wild Hares where the report said there were a massive decline in numbers.
I know for a fact that the guy doing the survey did it during a bright sunny day, spotting from a vehicle.
That was the report that was submitted so that's what we are all to believe.
If the guy had gone out with a thermal at night he would have maybe got a truer picture.
Scientific evidence is welcome/ but they have to work with/listen to the people on the river, i.e ghillies and anglers.
I would believe and listen to a ghillie that's been on the river for many years rather than a young fisheries person
that's been given a load of data to follow.
They have surveyed, tagged, counted, cleaned up rivers for several years now and the fish numbers are still declining !!!
Maybe I'm being selfish but I don't mind if I catch a truly wild fish or a hatchery reared one, would anyone know the difference ?
The people that's paying huge money to fish in Iceland on some of these hatchery run rivers aren't complaining.
On the Ranga for example, when the first runs came back from their first hatchery programme , did they stop the hatchery
incase the hatchery fish interfered with the returning "wild " fish ?

I'm sure there are places where ranching would work well, it seems to at Delphi, but there are very few anglers who can afford the cost. The Ranga has guaranteed fish and guaranteed water, but it's £250 an hour to fish it.
 
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