Washington Hatchery Loses Over 3.5 Million Chum Salmon Fry When Flooding Brought Debris To Water Intake System

Hatchery crews at Hoodsport Hatchery on Washington state’s Hood Canal identified a loss of more than 3.5 million chum salmon fry early Monday morning following extreme flooding that resulted in significant debris in the hatchery’s water intake system.

The incident coincided with an atmospheric river that prompted active flood warnings for the nearby Skokomish River. With standby hatchery staff responding to equipment alarms throughout the night, the debris ultimately resulted in inadequate flows to hatchery incubation trays.

WDFW is analyzing the incident and will take appropriate actions to mitigate future incidents at Hoodsport Hatchery.

“Our hatchery crews are deeply committed to the health and well-being of these fish and the fisheries they support,” said Joe Coutu, WDFW hatchery operations manager for Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. “We are disappointed by this loss alongside anglers, tribal co-managers and communities that depend on fishing.”

Hoodsport Hatchery is one of two other WDFW hatcheries that support Hood Canal chum production. This loss accounts for about 9 percent of planned Hood Canal chum salmon releases between WDFW’s Hoodsport and McKernan hatcheries. Hatchery crews will backfill the loss with surplus fry from McKernan hatchery.

This year’s release keeps pace with historic Hood Canal chum fry releases over the last 10 years. These fry were planned for release in April 2022. Other fish species raised at the Hoodsport Hatchery include fall Chinook and pink salmon, none of which this event impacted.

WDFW operates 80 hatcheries across Washington and raises about 48.4 million chum salmon fry annually.

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