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Sustained Collaboration Produces Healthier Fish
Quinault Chinook

What do you get when two hatchery programs combine forces?  Healthier fish.  

Historically, it’s been difficult for the Quinault National Fish Hatchery to collect enough broodstock to meet the fall Chinook program’s annual production goal.  Meanwhile, it was difficult for the Quinault Indian Nation to rear their winter steelhead during the summer due to warm water and pathogen issues in Lake Quinault. The solution?  Following research and a Hatchery Review recommendation to maximize fall Chinook survivability by increasing use of the Nation’s net pen system, in 2012 Quinault NFH’s program was transferred to the Nation’s fisheries program. Summer rearing of the Nation’s winter steelhead program, meanwhile, was transferred to Quinault NFH, where cooler Cook Creek water makes raising young steelhead prior to their release in the Lake easier.  

Partnering to raise healthy fish is an ongoing commitment for these two hatcheries. In 2013, the Service purchased six nets to assist the Nation in replacing the 35-year-old net pen system.  Studies demonstrated that moving to the new, larger pens lowered fall Chinook rearing densities, and reduced predation by birds, mammals, and other fish. The new nets also have mesh small enough to allow easy transfer of the fish directly from incubators into the net pens. The upgrade reinforces the Service and Quinaults’ efforts to pool resources and sustain hatchery programs vital to the Tribe and the local economy.

Last Updated: September 21, 2016
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