The Native Fish Society (NFS), an advocacy group which strives to promote policies and practices that protect historically abundant native fish populations, is urging individuals to take action to have their voice heard regarding the expansion of hatchery operations on Washington's Klickitat River. According to the NFS, a proposal drafted this summer by the Bonneville Power Authority and the Yakama Klickitat Fish Project, which oversee hatchery operations on the Klickitat, will put already endangered native fish populations at increased risk.
The issue, claims NFS, stems from decades of hatchery released, non-native fall Chinook, Coho and skamania Steelhead. Fall Chinook, of which 4 million are released each year, are a documented threat to the Klickitat's native spring Chinook. The Kilckitat's spring Chinook run, which once numbered in the thousands, has been reduced to around 300, leaving the spring Chinook population on the brink of eradication. Non-native, hatchery Coho and skamania Steelhead both threaten the Klickitat's native summer and winter Steelhead, which have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1999.
The NFS contends that the proposed expansion of hatchery operations on the Klickitat not only fly in the face of scientifically well-documented best practices regarding fisheries management that insures the survival and recovery of native fish popluations, but is also inconsistent with federally established provisions for fish populations in the Klickitat.
As a result, the Native Fish Society is calling on individuals who would like to see the Klickitat's once-strong native fish populations restored to make their voice heard. To learn more, including how to speak up on this issue, visit the Native Fish Society.