Study Suggests Hatchery Fish Don't Harm Native Fish Stock

Oct 1, 2012

A new study out today suggests hatchery fish don't necessarily have a negative impact on wild fish when the two interbreed.

Scientists working with Columbia River tribes tracked thousands of wild and hatchery Chinook salmon on Idaho's Johnson Creek over 13 years. They used DNA to follow the offspring of wild fish that mated with hatchery fish and see how well they reproduced.

Maureen Hess is the lead author on the study.

Hess:"Basically when a hatchery fish mates with a wild fish, we did not find that they reduce the fitness of that wild fish. We are showing that they are surviving to reproduce, and the ones that do reproduce are reproducing at a rate that is similar to the rate for wild fish."

The findings contradict an earlier study that found hatchery fish are causing reproductive declines in steelhead on the Hood River.

The study was published in the Journal of Molecular Ecology.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network