29 Oct 2009, 1:45pm
Salmon agencies
by admin
1 comment

Huge Coho Salmon Run Swamps Oregon Fish Hatcheries

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced last week that, “This year’s coho run is on track to be one of the largest salmon returns in the Columbia Basin over the past decade.”

As of October 23rd, an estimated 703,000 coho were forecast to enter the Columbia River at Astoria. Last year’s run size was 472,000 coho.

ODFW noted in their news release: “This year’s run was large enough that fishery managers increased the bag limit to three fish a day and extended the season in many areas. Despite these measures, several ODFW hatcheries have been inundated with fish.”

The news release (below) is interesting for a couple of other reasons. First, ODFW makes no conjecture or supposition as to why this year’s run is double the ten-year average. In their 2007 Oregon Coast Coho Conservation Plan For the State of Oregon [here], ODFW asserts:

Several limiting factors are identified for individual independent coho populations in this ESU (Table 4), including stream complexity (high quality habitat), water quality, water quantity, hatchery impacts, spawning gravel and exotic species. Stream complexity is the predominant limiting factor for populations in the Oregon Coast coho ESU.

Did “stream complexity” change radically in the last five years? No, no significant changes have occurred, at least according to ODFW which needs ever more tax dollars to spend on grinding their teeth about stream habitat.

So what happened? Why has the coho run doubled?

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