Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Co$t of Hatchery Fi$h in Oregon
What does it cost to raise a hatchery salmon in the state of Oregon? Are we getting our moneys worth?
I ran across this information from the audits division of the secretary of state for Oregon.
We here in Oregon are addicted to hatchery fish and specifically hatchery salmon. The majority seem unwilling to make the tough choice for the betterment of the resource. You'll read about the simple minded solutions of some that suggest that we plant even more hatchery fish on top of recovering wild. They say "There are no true wild fish anymore"....sigh. To just minimize the viability of wild salmonids that way is hard to take isn't it?
Bear in mind that this audit was from over ten years ago so one can just imagine what inflation has done to these costs in 2007.
The estimated cost to produce a pound of salmon or trout during state fiscal years 1994-1997 varied considerably among the 13 hatcheries, ranging from $4.08 per pound at the Butte Falls hatchery to $9.09 per pound at the Clackamas hatchery.
Similarly, the audit showed considerable variation in the cost to produce an adult salmon that was reported to have been caught or to have returned to freshwater for spawning.
For an adult fall Chinook salmon, the overall cost at the hatcheries reviewed was $39Adult fall Chinook costs ranged from $14 per fish for fish produced by the Salmon River hatchery to $176 per fish for fish produced by the Rock Creek hatchery.
For an adult spring Chinook salmon, the overall cost at the hatcheries was $175. Spring Chinook costs ranged from $90 per fish for fish produced by the Cedar Creek hatchery to $254 per fish for fish produced by the McKenzie hatchery.
The overall cost for an adult Coho salmon was $97. Costs ranged from $67 per fish for fish produced by the North Nehalem hatchery to $530 per fish for fish produced by the Bandon hatchery.
Department management noted that ocean conditions were particularly poor during our audit period, resulting in very low salmon survival rates. Management also stated that fishing restrictions in place during this period resulted in lower catch rates. While the figures we report here may not be representative of current conditions, they do provide a means for making relative comparisons between hatcheries and the types of salmon they produce.
So taking into account the proven fact of the all around inferiority of the hatchery raised product we see in our rivers one must wonder if perhaps a portion of that money could have been spent on wild fish and habitat restoration.
I know if I had a choice as to where my contribution was spent it would be a no brainer for me.