Three chinook salmon swimming in green water with a rocky bottom. Light is filtering in from above the water.

Hatcheries Failing Chinook

More salmon hatcheries will NOT help killer whales or chinook…

In B.C. and Washington State, fishery managers, legislators, the sport fishing industry and even the whale watching industry have advocated for increased production of hatchery chinook to “save” the critically endangered southern resident killer whales.

However, this idea lacks a biological or ecological basis and could even undermine recovery efforts for wild chinook.

SRKWs have evolved to target large and old stream-type chinook. Hatcheries have failed to protect or restore the old ages, big sizes, range of migration times and diversity of wild chinook salmon.

There is growing evidence that hatcheries are part of the reason chinook have failed to recover. hatcheries domesticate salmon, selecting for genes suited to the hatchery environment but that are maladaptive in the wild. On the spawning grounds, hatchery fish interbreed with wild fish reducing the fitness and genetic diversity of wild salmon.

Find out more about hatcheries.
📷 April Bencze

Scroll to Top