View Full Version : NATURE program on the state of wild Salmon
05-02-2011, 03:18 PM
Did anyone else see the Nature program on PBS last night on the state of our wild Salmon stocks and the problems regarding the whole hatchery program system? It was very informative and damn near depressing. Any thoughts?
I'll try to find a link to watch it online.
05-02-2011, 03:26 PM
This is the link for the preview, the show won't load due to copyright issues in Canada.
This is a great link regarding the wild Salmon issue. It has a US slant, but the information can be transferred to here as well.
05-02-2011, 03:35 PM
Here's the introduction of the show. It was all I could get for the moment. Not all of the episode is here, but enough to get the drift of what's happening. Maybe one of our American members can download and post it so everyone could see it?
05-02-2011, 03:50 PM
Missed it BB. Was it on satellite or cable? I like PBS alot. Commercial TV is driving me away from the boob-tube. Mindless!
The other night I watched one commercial telling all the young girls & women that their hair colour sucked and they needed to buy this shit to colour it so they would be beautiful.
The commercial that followed is selling the shit to put on their heads to fix what the colouring shit fu#cked up.
05-02-2011, 05:07 PM
Cable. I wish I'd known about it in advance, I would have posted it for everyone to watch. You really need to see it Little Hawk, it fits right in with what you've been promoting on the site regarding loss of salmon stocks but also went into pretty deep detail regarding how the hatchery programs are actually damaging the genetic stock of what salmon are left and how that is further complicating recovery efforts. That's painting the program with a pretty broad brush, but there was way too much information to both remember 100% accurately and post here. That's why I'm hoping some other members saw the show.
Gotta be a way to get it up and running on the forum.
05-02-2011, 05:32 PM
watched it ,the mixed message i got was seemingly a bunch of crap ,alot of these wild stocks were indangered long ago with the intro of these dams,hatcheries have created a chance for these systems to recover but they can only sustain as many fish as the system is health wise ,still to many dams ,the sad message of this all that i got is that some people would love to see a system die rather then inhance it with hatchery fish,sad.its funny there was nomention of record returns of chinook since the forties and that the numbers have been increasing last few years, there will always be smaller tributaries in trouble not unlike our fraser system.
05-02-2011, 07:37 PM
Satellite says it is on KCTS Seattle Tuesday 12noon and again Wednesday 4am.
I think it will be replayed again this Sunday 8 pm.
At least that's what my TV schedule says
05-03-2011, 10:03 PM
Great show thanks for the heads up.
Show is about the Columbia river system and how it is being returned to it's natural state for the sake of wild salmon.
Got to hand it to those yanks their way ahead of us when it comes to restoration of wild salmon habitat.
Show is on again tonight 4am KCTS PBS Seattle.
05-04-2011, 10:12 PM
BB I watched the PBS program Sunday night too. Very informative. For me it had two messages. 1) While hatcheries are a good idea in theory and work up to a point, the big danger is the overall reduction in genetic diversity. We humans "choose" different fish to breed than would get to breed naturally if the males and females are left to themselves to make choices. We humans cannot "manage" the ecosystem well, despite what we like to believe. The big explosions in the tern and cormorant populations feeding on the huge releases of hatchery fingerlings into the Columbia system was a classic example of the unintended effects of ecosystem so-called management. 2) The only real way forward is to restore the natural habitats, including removing dams and the Americans have done that with many small dams on tributaries. Unfortunately, the Grand Coulee and many other giant dams on the Columbia are not going to be removed any time soon!!
05-05-2011, 05:09 AM
The problem was that they believed the hatcheries could replace the natural production, and that mass production would allow for sufficient genetic diversity. The genetic argument has been somewhat of a red herring in fisheries management circles for the last 10 - 20 years. Some times it is true that the hatcheries do lessen genetic variation however there are just as many cases where hatchery fish are more genetically diverse than the native fish, which is especially true in small systems. Mom Nature eliminates the fish with bad genes and allows those with acceptable genes to survive. The theory being that hatchery systems don't allow mom to do her job fully and we select too many of the bad genes, and flood the system with fish that won't survive, forcing out the good gened fish by simply overwhelming them with numbers, and not enough survive to produce more good gened fish to sustain the population. The problem I have with the theory is that genetic make up is only one part. Environment plays a huge role, and thats where the effect of the habitat both in FW and out in the ocean comes in. In addition, animal geneticists, the guys who breed animals and plants will tell you that some traits have a very high degree of inheritability, and other traits do not. In other words by selective breeding you may be able to affect the growth rate of a fish, but not its ability to find its native stream, or survive a seal attack. I would suggest the hatchery fishes ineffective oredator avoidance is nore a product of enfivronment than genetic make up. So I wouldn't be too hasty to place the blame solely on hatchery production, and eliminate its use. It is after all simply another arrow in the fish managment quiver.
The increased predation occurs in natural systems as well. Fox and lynx populations closely follow the snowshoe hare populations cycle of boom and bust.
Hatchery production in Alaska also has produced similar effects in the increased predation by seal and birds at the time of smolt release. I wonder if the bird populations were this large before the dams were built and now have simply recovered up to pre dam levels as the hatchery production replaced the natural production.
05-06-2011, 08:01 PM
You have muddled up some concepts. Hatcheries are not about “good and bad” genes; the issue is one of genetic diversity. I.e. variety. There is no way a few, or even dozens, of hatcheries can produce the same diversity as the original Columbia and its hundreds, if not thousands of tributaries. This “sameness” among the hatchery population makes them very vulnerable to environmental changes, natural or man-made. Likewise your point about the environment being a more important factor than genetics is incorrect. Natural selection and evolution occurs by means of the selective pressure created by environmental conditions acting upon the gene pool. Genes do not confer superiority, in and of themselves; they confer an advantage only in respect of the traits that enable survival in the environmental conditions encountered by the fish. In other words, survival of a species is only ensured by having the greatest diversity and variety in the gene pool, to cover a very wide variety of conditions. Hatcheries cannot enable this.
As to whether the tern populations were as large during the days of wild runs – again this is not the point. In the pre-dam days smolts from a huge variety of steams and tributaries would travel downstream at a variety of times, depths, speeds , sizes and times of day/night. Now there are huge timed releases of large uniform smolts coincident with a sluice opening or a truck shipment “around” the dam. This is an unnatural condition and nature tries to restore the balance and variety by “exploding” the prey populations and their breeding times to take advantage of the artificial abundance.
Hatcheries may be a necessary evil right now; but they can never “manage” the fish populations for us. Hatcheries, like all human endeavors are about simplicity and sameness, whereas a healthy natural environment is productive and sustaining because of its huge diversity and complexity of interaction, which we barely understand and certainly cannot “manage”.
05-08-2011, 10:03 AM
I think that the basic premise behind the program was that proper management involves both hatcheries and better enhancement of the natural environment. By that I mean that the hatcheries provide enhanced numbers of returning fish (at least in theory) for the end users and when combined with better returns of natural stocks though proper environmental management (which both improves returns and enhances natural gene diversity) that benefits to the stocks are compounded both in numbers and in health/gene diversity.
It's not that one is the answer over the other, but that by by combining the benefits of both that the results are not doubled, but compounded on a geometrically increasing scale. Through the co-operative management of both, stock numbers could be returned to their natural levels in a much shorter time frame with tremendous benefits to both the fishery in general and the environment.
06-07-2011, 09:48 PM
Your comments contain the implicit assumption that we humans can “improve” on nature and do a better job than nature itself. As if we humans can create a more productive environment than millions of years of evolution! Hatcheries may be a necessary evil right now, but the end objective should always be to preserve and protect natural environments so that wild fish stocks can be self sustaining, and then get the hell out of the way.
06-08-2011, 08:53 AM
My apologies if that is how my post sounded, it was not the case.
I too believe that we are in the state we are in Because we interfere with nature too much. At this point it is too late to not interfere. Now our only hope is to try and work with mother Nature in attempt to help reverse the damage we've caused. Saying that people can do a better job than nature would be like placing us ahead of whatever higher power one might chose to believe in.
My personal belief is that people want to do the right thing, but then the money gets in the way. You only have to read some of the other threads on this site to see that trend.
06-08-2011, 03:18 PM
I think we are saying the same thing, in a different way perhaps but much the same nonetheless.
Regarding your last sentence yes “money does get in the way”. Unfortunately, that is because the whole accounting and profit/loss system on which economics is based is fundamentally flawed. It leaves many environmental impacts and the cost of those impacts “off the books” and the cost has to be picked up by others. Those others impacted are usually “downstream” e.g. river/stream pollution, and air pollution (acid rain) or in the future (i.e. future generations). Economics, as currently practiced, thinks nothing of mortgaging the future but the price will have to be paid someday, and that price will be enormous. Global warming is the classic example of that, and once the Greenland and Antarctic Ice caps go, the social and economic consequences will be unimaginable. (OK so it may take 500 or a thousand years for that to happen but nevertheless it will happen; but human life times are too short for economics to become real and so very few care about those future generations and most just scream at carbon taxes in the here and now).
06-08-2011, 04:33 PM
Those who profit off the negative effects to the planet are mostly concerned with profit margins in the here and now assuming they will be dead before it's an issue, or will have enough money to somehow evade the consequences.
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