National Fisherman


A small but feisty fish conservation group is asking a federal judge Wednesday to take the unprecedented action of stopping Oregon's seasonal release of juvenile salmon and steelhead in the Sandy River.

The Oregon City-based Native Fish Society filed suit against Oregon fishery officials and the National Marine Fisheries Service two years ago, contending releases from the Sandy Hatchery harms threatened salmon and steelhead.

On Wednesday it will ask U.S. District Judge Ancer Haggerty to stop the hatchery's releases — scheduled to begin Saturday with 67,000 spring chinook smolts and 735,000 total fish this spring — until the lawsuit is fought in court.

While the debate whether hatchery and wild salmon and steelhead can co-exist has raged along riverbanks and in scientific journals, a broad legal challenge to a hatchery's is rare and asking a judge to stop smolt releases is a first in Oregon.

Started in 1995, the Native Fish Society has a $390,000 yearly budget, a staff of six, 80 volunteers and membership of 700 advocating for the recovery of wild fish and their habitat. Two years ago it started a project examining the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's hatchery practices, first focusing on the Sandy Hatchery. A year later, it filed a suit challenging the hatchery's operation.

Read the full story at the Oregonian>>

Inside the Industry

The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.

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Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.

The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.

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