Wild Fish and Hatchery Fish Co-exist? No.


Sport anglers are an ever-optimistic group. We typically count ourselves as hopeful as well. However, many avid anglers are over-reading the tea leaves on the issue of wild fish scientific knowledge of late.

Buoyed by a single scientific study declaring that hatchery steelhead did not adversely affect wild steelhead on the Clackamas River (a flawed conclusion derived from faulty assumptions) and intent on riding the wave of public concern for threatened Killer Whales into increased hatchery production for Chinook salmon in the Columbia Basin and Puget Sound, the call for more hatchery production for salmon and steelhead has never been louder.

The recent study on the impacts of stopping the release of hatchery summer steelhead on the Clackamas River has been touted as retribution for hatchery advocates who do not believe the overwhelming weight of thirty years of scientific research results documenting the multiple adverse impacts on wild fish populations. The so-called “Courter Study” spawned its own website titled “Hatchery-Wild Coexist” that tells a tall tale of being able to have it all – which when you think about it, is just too good to be true. And when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

We have carefully examined the Courter Study and present two critiques here:

TCA Critique of Courter Study

Courter Study Review, Context and Critique by Bill Bakke

Apologies for raining on the hatchery fish parade, but one recent study and a handful of others minimizing the adverse affects does little if anything to undo the previous thirty years of scientific research documenting the multiple adverse ecological and genetic impacts of hatchery production on wild fish diversity, productivity, resilience and ultimately, abundance.


TCA President Pete Soverel, never at a loss for words, summed it all up in responding to Terrry Otto’s cheerleading April article on the “Hatchery-Wild Coexist” movement published in the Vancouver Columbian.

Terry’s original article is here:

Anglers Want More Hatchery Fish

Please read Pete’s Letter to the Editor.  I am positive nobody anyone else could make the case for Wild Fish in 250 words better than Pete does!

Pete Soverel on the failure of hatcheries



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