The differance between hatchery salmon and wild salmon is the same as the differeance between a human child born at home versus in the hospital.
Consequently, environmentalists’ lamentations about the loss of salmon are irrelevant when you consider how effective salmon hatcheries are at raising them, as this article from the Sacramento Bee reveals.
Starting next month, millions of young California salmon could be migrating to the ocean in tanker trucks instead of swimming downstream in the Sacramento River.
On Monday, state and federal wildlife officials announced a plan to move hatchery-raised salmon by truck in the event the state’s ongoing drought makes the Sacramento River and its tributaries inhospitable for the fish. They fear the rivers could become too shallow and warm to sustain salmon trying to migrate to sea on their own.
Shrunken habitat could deplete food supply for the young fish, and make them easier prey for predators. It also would make the water warmer, which can be lethal to salmon.
“The conditions may be so poor as to produce unacceptable levels of mortality for the out-migrating juveniles,” said Bob Clarke, fisheries program supervisor at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Clarke’s agency operates Coleman National Fish Hatchery on Battle Creek, a tributary of the Sacramento River near Red Bluff. It is the largest salmon hatchery in the state, producing about 12 million fall-run Chinook salmon. The hatchery was built to atone for habitat losses caused by construction of Shasta Dam.
Coleman hatchery salmon are usually released into Battle Creek in April and May.
Fishery experts prefer to release young fish into rivers so they imprint on the location as “home” and are better able to migrate back from the ocean for spawning three to four years later.
Fall-run Chinook salmon from the Sacramento River and its tributaries compose the bulk of the wild-caught salmon available in California markets and restaurants, and also feed a lucrative sport-fishing industry. In total, these fish represent a multibillion-dollar slice of the state’s economy each year.
Retrieved March 11, 2014 from http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/10/6226163/in-severe-drought-plan-california.html