Sport Fishing

Scott Church
Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited is a nationwide organization dedicated to the celebration of and preservation of wild trout and their habitats throughout America. Their mission is to conserve, protect and restore North America’s trout and salmon, and their watersheds. They accomplish this on local, state and national levels with an extensive and dedicated volunteer network. TU’s national office, based just outside of Washington, D.C., and its regional offices employ professionals who testify before Congress, publish a quarterly magazine, intervene in federal legal proceedings, and work with the organization’s 125,000 volunteers in 500 chapters nationwide to keep them active and involved in conservation issues. They are active in preserving trout riparian habitat, the biodiversity of trout populations, advocating for wild fish populations vs. hatchery populations, and promoting catch and release fisheries. This site provides news on current Congressional and local developments important to trout and numerous opportunities to true sportsmen and women to get involved.
The Wild Steelhead Coalition
The Wild Steelhead Coalition is a group of concerned citizens determined to reverse the factors that have negatively impacted wild steelhead, and in so doing, restore healthy and viable populations of wild steelhead to the Pacific Northwest. They represent environmentalists, true sport fishermen, businesses that depend upon wild steelhead for their livelihoods and wisely realized the need to advocate for them, and citizens who seek to preserve the future of Pacific Northwest's fish runs. At a time when the Bush Administration, and legions of profit or harvest oriented special interests are driving salmon policy, they are one of the few voices advocating for science and wild fish populations.
Wild Fish Conservancy (formerly Washington Trout)
Washington Trout is a non-profit conservation-ecology organization dedicated to the preservation and recovery of Washington’s native fish and the ecosystems they depend on. They seek to improve conditions for all of Washington’s wild fish by conducting important research on wild-fish populations and habitats, advocating for better land-use, salmon-harvest, and hatchery management, and developing model habitat-restoration projects. Founded in 1989, Washington Trout has built a reputation for effectiveness, expertise, credibility, and a focus on the needs of the resource. Among other things, they have corrected the misidentification of over 4500 fish-bearing streams throughout Washington State, qualifying those waters for the legal protections they deserve, carried out important field research on the status and recovery needs of wild-fish populations and habitats, and successfully advocated for needed fishing, land use, and hatchery-management changes in Washington, fighting to improve the performance of local, state, and federal resource agencies. This site has news, information about the programs they are currently conducting and opportunities to get involved.
Hatcheries and Wild Fish Runs
Salmon Recovery & Local Breeding Populations: A Response to Jim BuchalPDF Version
Scott Church (Oct. 2001)
This is an article by me in response to a speech given by Jim Buchal to the Kitsap Alliance of Property Owners in Washington State. Buchal, a Portland, OR based lawyer for industry and property rights special interests, is known for his confrontational manner and vociferous opposition to salmon recovery efforts and the related fisheries science. In the referenced speech he claims that genetic diversity and riparian spawning habitat have nothing to do with the health of salmon populations, and viciously attacks the science and scientists behind the research on salmon ecology. In my response I address the pseudoscience and poor reasoning with which he defends his claims, and his generally abusive and unprofessional tone.
Genetic variability in four hatchery strains of coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum), in Chile
Perex et al. 2001. Aquaculture Research, 32 (1), pp. 41-46
This paper by Perez et. al. studies the loss of genetic variability among farmed raised coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum)) in Chile compared to their wild counterparts. Yet again, results showed what everyone not in Bush Administration fillet-and-release denial already knows - that hatchery raised salmon are not the same as wild ones, and cannot replace them or secure their continued existence. Perez and his colleagues studied allozymic variability and its distribution within and between some commercial strains of coho salmon in southern Chile which were selected randomly from 4 Chilean hatcheries. The genetic variability was estimated by using horizontal starch gel electrophoresis methods to examine variability in 51 enzymatic loci. The hatchery and/or farm raised coho salmon displayed considerably less genetic variability than their wild counterparts - and correspondingly, less survivability.
Interspecific Effects of Artifically Propagated Fish: an Additional Conservation Risk for Salmon
Levin, PS and JG Williams. 2002. Conservation Biology, 16 (6), pp. 1581-1587
Here is yet more research regarding the effects of hatcheries on wild fish populations. In this paper the impact of hatchery reared steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) on Snake River populations of wild steelhead and chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) are studied. Once again, it is found that they negatively impact wild populations to a significant degree.
Catch and Release
Effects of catch and release angling on Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar L., of the Conne River, Newfoundland
Dempson et al. 2002. Fisheries Management & Ecology, 9 (3), pg. 139-147
This paper from Dempson and his colleagues at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Newfoundland documents the benefits of catch-and-release on fish populations. They investigated sport-caught Atlantic Salmon against a control group of trap-caught salmon showing that there is a statistically significant benefit from catch and release policies. The results should extrapolate to the management of other anadromous fisheries.


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