You’ve got to hand it to Oregon for being proactive. In an day and age when salmon and steelhead populations can use all the help they can get, the Oregon State Senate just passed two key pieces of legislation — Senate Bills 472 and 545– that will create larger and healthier anadramous fish populations in the state’s rivers.
Senate Bill 472 begins a pilot program through the Department of Fish and Wildlife to revive the hatchbox program from the 1970’s on the Rogue River. A $45 hatchbox can incubate 1000 eggs, and increases survival rates to 65 to 95 percent, as opposed to the natural survival rate of 5 to 20 percent. Senate Bill 545 directs the Department of Fish and Wildlife to study pathogens in fish hatcheries and determine what the best methods are for raising fish in hatcheries.
“Fishing in Oregon’s streams and rivers is one of our state’s great legacies,” says Senator Atkinson. “These bills are in the best tradition of ingenuity and conservation, and I believe it is a piece of protecting and resorting our salmon and steelhead runs. The more eggs that survive to the fry stage, the more fry have a chance of surviving to adulthood. It is simple math, and I think it is another thing we can do to help ensure there are strong fish populations for our kids and grandkids to fish.”