Letter: Hatchery politics is not fish recovery



I was disappointed that the Aug. 15 story, “Klickitat fishway project is nearing completion,” did not discuss the importance of waterfalls to salmon diversity and the danger to indigenous stocks of wild salmon posed by the creation of artificial fish passage. Though the river now has lots of hatchery coho and fall chinook that were once excluded from areas above the falls, ever since the Washington Department of Fisheries violated Lyle and Castile Falls on the Klickitat 50 years ago, the wild spring chinook and summer steelhead that were able to leap these waterfalls have been in serious decline.

Left out of the story as well is that the new trapping facility will be used to mine wild salmon and steelhead for yet another Klickitat hatchery complex planned by the Yakama Nation and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, to be built and funded by the Bonneville Power Administration. While talk of integrating wild fish into their hatchery program is good propaganda; ultimately, it reduces the last of the best to the same status as the generic inbred stocks of salmon that can only thrive in cement ponds. This is just hatchery politics with the usual generous handouts of millions of federal dollars. Please don’t call it salmon recovery.

John Sowinski