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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hatcheries don't work. Don't they?

Visited the Quinsam Hatchery on Vancouver Island on Tuesday to look round the facility and what an eye opener.
But apparently over in UK the powers that be say they don't work. Well let me assure you they do. Look at the stats on the third picture.
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And the fish are still to come. Coho and Chum and more Chinooks.
The last picture is the hatchery in action stripping a batch of Pink Salmon.
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I think there is more to it than that.

Do they have unlimited finances in which to run an expensive operation.
Do they have the same amount of fish eating birds over there.
Do they have the built up population pumping their wastes into the water.
Do they have the chemicals that are sprayed on adjoining fields that some of our rivers have.
Do their rivers have the same amount of fish farms located at most of their river estuaries.

Just wondering how it works over there and doesn't here - Allegedly!
 

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I think there is a danger of oversymplifying hatcheries. In common with a great deal of salmon conservation there is no one size fits all solution. Each catchment has its own problems and if a river is failing it is important to know why. Hatcheries can be a solution or make things much worse depending on what the bottleneck is. When the Tyne was first recovering a small number of adults had a large habitat to fill. By introducing reared parr the natural recolonisation process was accelerated and for a period up to nearly 50% of adults were hatchery origin. Once the river was established the stocking made very little difference, other than to mitigate Keilder.

If the problem is not one of poor juvenile production in good habitat sticking in hatchery parr will only make things worse. If it is a poor juvenile production problem sorting that out will give better long term results, although stocking while you do it speeds up the process tremendously. Stocking smolts will get some return as these are additional production, presuming all the natural production is utilised and there are spare adults available. It is also extremely expensive, see Delphi or Ranga. The return in Scotland where measured from 4 rivers over 25 years was consistently 10% of the return of wild smolts tagged as controls in the same places. The cost of this would need to be paid for and central government are not going to do it. If you are prepared to pay £1000 per day it might be for you.

In short I would say find the problem to your failing river and solve that, and a hatchery might well be part of that solution, rather than build a hatchery and hope it will solve all your problems; it might just make them worse!
 

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I have said it before and I will say it again nature needs kick starting, too many man made challenges have hit in a cluster bomb at once, global warming, loss of habitat, over exploitation of stocks the list goes on, what we need to do is get more smolts out to sea, and worry about the other things when they happen, if fish are in the rivers the economy benefits, salmon become a valuable commodity again and the politicians listen and the money earned from a viable salmon fishery can be put into buying out nets, scientific studies etc, salmon are worth nothing to politicians unless they are making money from them, I would happily pay a river tax for a well run hatchery to be set up on my river, the key thing it should be done with the rivers unique genetic pool, not stock form other rivers.
 

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They seem to work in Iceland.
Each of the West Ranga and the East Ranga stocks smolts. They are both private rivers with no equivalent of association/public water. As Loxie has already said, stocking smolts is very expensive. Government isn't going to pay for this. In Iceland they recover the cost through what they charge fishermen. That is why fishing these rivers is expensive.

Even then they have a sophisticated smolt shepherding operation and much more freedom to shoot predators than we do.

I once asked the manager of the East Ranga hatchery what he thought about stocking fry, which would be much cheaper. "Bird food" was his reply.
 

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Wholesale stocking using hatcheries is ALMOST universally seen as an inefficient means of increasing salmon stocks. Where some form of hatchery works is to stock areas of river to which salmon for one reason or another have no or little access does make sense as they can open up whole new areas of juvenile production.
 

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I have said it before and I will say it again nature needs kick starting, too many man made challenges have hit in a cluster bomb at once, global warming, loss of habitat, over exploitation of stocks the list goes on, what we need to do is get more smolts out to sea, and worry about the other things when they happen, if fish are in the rivers the economy benefits, salmon become a valuable commodity again and the politicians listen and the money earned from a viable salmon fishery can be put into buying out nets, scientific studies etc, salmon are worth nothing to politicians unless they are making money from them, I would happily pay a river tax for a well run hatchery to be set up on my river, the key thing it should be done with the rivers unique genetic pool, not stock form other rivers.
How much tax would you be prepared to pay? A rod caught salmon from a reared smolt might mean as few as 2 fish per 1,000 smolts. Starting from scratch a new hatchery is likely to be costing £1.50 or more per smolt. 700 to 1000 quid a fish. Your share 10 fish a year, cost £7000 to £10,000 in addition to all the current costs. A long term survey into stocking Scottish smolts found the cost per rod caught fish to be £30,000 plus. Scaling up would make it cheaper but even so!
 

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I think it works there, because they are pinks.
Maybe we should do the same with our newly established pink populations.
No doubt hatcheries are a good tool for kick starting populations where they are low, but the underlying conditions are good.
Not so sure, where there are bigger or multiple issues at play.
It would also depend on what the hatcher was doing, ie
To smolt stage
To fry
To fry or eggs in the head waters.
And finally, is it financially viable?
 

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Mows put his finger on the key question: "is it financially viable?".

In British Columbia the salmon fishery is a significant element in both GDP and social policy related to the indigenous people. Their politicians therefore judge hatcheries - with due economies of scale - to be a worthwhile application of public funds.

In the UK, where the wild salmon leisure and commercial fisheries comprise an element of GDP so microscopic that you can't even spot the electrons, and with an ongoing fiscal deficit, I don't see a business case for the use of public funds. I suspect that most riparian owners will be similarly hard-headed.

On the Ure we have a very small low-cost hatchery that provides smolts in compensation for the spawning area lost by the water diverted into the Alston reservoir. It relies on voluntary participation and the support of riparian owners. On that basis it's viable, but the business case wouldn't pass muster in the public sector.
 

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How much tax would you be prepared to pay? A rod caught salmon from a reared smolt might mean as few as 2 fish per 1,000 smolts. Starting from scratch a new hatchery is likely to be costing £1.50 or more per smolt. 700 to 1000 quid a fish. Your share 10 fish a year, cost £7000 to £10,000 in addition to all the current costs. A long term survey into stocking Scottish smolts found the cost per rod caught fish to be £30,000 plus. Scaling up would make it cheaper but even so!
Its not about what one man would be prepared to pay, you only have to look at the permits prices on Tyne and what people are prepared to pay now, beats that were 15 pounds a day are over 100 quid a day now, for the suggestion to work it has to have the backing from all people invested in a river, hotels, landowners and of course the fisherman and it can work, the Tyne is a prime example, except why leave until you have to take in brood stock from other rivers thats my point step in before it gets to the state the tyne was in before the hatchery was needed, so many other rivers it has worked in it cant be a fluke?

I honestly do not think the miracle is going to happen by us waiting and praying, the habitat improvement , nets and pollution need to be dealt with alongside increasing what stock is left, I just think salmon are in a very precarious position right now and they need urgent help.
 

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If it comes down to money then I paid around £5000 fishing over seas last year, to sum it up the rivers near my home in Ireland used to team with salmon some very large fish as well, I for one would be happy to pay a tax for a properly run hatchery, what I cant bare is paying money to read graphs from fishery scientists telling me what I already know that there is not enough fish left .

How much tax would you be prepared to pay? A rod caught salmon from a reared smolt might mean as few as 2 fish per 1,000 smolts. Starting from scratch a new hatchery is likely to be costing £1.50 or more per smolt. 700 to 1000 quid a fish. Your share 10 fish a year, cost £7000 to £10,000 in addition to all the current costs. A long term survey into stocking Scottish smolts found the cost per rod caught fish to be £30,000 plus. Scaling up would make it cheaper but even so!
 

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tax

I have said it before and I will say it again nature needs kick starting, too many man made challenges have hit in a cluster bomb at once, global warming, loss of habitat, over exploitation of stocks the list goes on, what we need to do is get more smolts out to sea, and worry about the other things when they happen, if fish are in the rivers the economy benefits, salmon become a valuable commodity again and the politicians listen and the money earned from a viable salmon fishery can be put into buying out nets, scientific studies etc, salmon are worth nothing to politicians unless they are making money from them, I would happily pay a river tax for a well run hatchery to be set up on my river, the key thing it should be done with the rivers unique genetic pool, not stock form other rivers.
Agreed with your post on many levels there as Im sure many others do, but I stop at the TAX bit.

Not a f......g chance will i even enter that conversation.

The tax man already has a massive cut of your expenditure from permit buying to tackle buying and on top of your everyday taxes you pay HMRC, why on earth would we want to volunteer more.

ST

ST
 

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Tax is a poor choice of words contribution is what I meant m8:)

Agreed with your post on many levels there as Im sure many others do, but I stop at the TAX bit.

Not a f......g chance will i even enter that conversation.

The tax man already has a massive cut of your expenditure from permit buying to tackle buying and on top of your everyday taxes you pay HMRC, why on earth would we want to volunteer more.

ST

ST
 

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Its not about what one man would be prepared to pay, you only have to look at the permits prices on Tyne and what people are prepared to pay now, beats that were 15 pounds a day are over 100 quid a day now, for the suggestion to work it has to have the backing from all people invested in a river, hotels, landowners and of course the fisherman and it can work, the Tyne is a prime example, except why leave until you have to take in brood stock from other rivers thats my point step in before it gets to the state the tyne was in before the hatchery was needed, so many other rivers it has worked in it cant be a fluke?

I honestly do not think the miracle is going to happen by us waiting and praying, the habitat improvement , nets and pollution need to be dealt with alongside increasing what stock is left, I just think salmon are in a very precarious position right now and they need urgent help.
I don't disagree about the rise in permit price, early 90s you could have had a day a week at Bywell for 400 quid a year, mind you the catches were 1/2 - 1/3 of what they are these days and there's only so many folk who can take weds off every week. The key thing is that to the best of my knowledge none of the riparian owners or the B&B owners paid a penny towards either the hatchery (possibly significant) or the sewage works and water cleanliness improvements (massively significant) that brought the river up to what it is now - except through general taxation and their rates / council tax.

Even though a couple of beats maybe make ok money now and capital values are crazy ** I would bet that these wouldn't have happened if they had relied on the owners to pony up some of the cash to get a return 20 years later. They don't seem to be dipping in their pockets to buy out the drift netters - and why bother, the EA will do it for them. It would be interesting if you tried to get them to pay for some running costs of the hatchery now, of course they would (correctly) point out that it is the responsibility of Northumbrian Water to fund the EA operation as part of the mitigation of the miles of spawning lost to the dam.

** The Watersmeet sale price particularly was insane but the guy who bought it had reasons and isn't short of a bob or two.
 

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Its not about what one man would be prepared to pay, you only have to look at the permits prices on Tyne and what people are prepared to pay now, beats that were 15 pounds a day are over 100 quid a day now, for the suggestion to work it has to have the backing from all people invested in a river, hotels, landowners and of course the fisherman and it can work, the Tyne is a prime example, except why leave until you have to take in brood stock from other rivers thats my point step in before it gets to the state the tyne was in before the hatchery was needed, so many other rivers it has worked in it cant be a fluke?

I honestly do not think the miracle is going to happen by us waiting and praying, the habitat improvement , nets and pollution need to be dealt with alongside increasing what stock is left, I just think salmon are in a very precarious position right now and they need urgent help.
The tyne used coquet fish for the hatchery aswel as tyne fish at the start.

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Most hatcheries at some stage have used fish from differant systems. Does it make any differance ? I think not . A lot of the big Wye fish could of come from stock from the Rhine, in the early days of the hatchery.
Also we know about Salmon straying to other rivers. This has always happend and always will. Its natures way in re populating destroyed systems, that have cleaned their system enough for ***** to survive. I personally think more straying goes on than we think.
 
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