Simon Fraser University scientists say a population explosion of hatchery and wild salmon in the North Pacific Ocean is leading hatchery fish to beat out their wild cousins for food. Few people understand the complexities of salmon and where they come from, but recent research is showing we need to pay more attention. In some regions, hatchery salmon dominate (50% of total or more) wild fish. In Asia salmon hatcheries produce 76% of all adult chum salmon.
Most people don't realize how important hatcheries are to wild salmon production. And some are even questioning labeling wild salmon born in hatcheries as such.
Here in California many of the hatcheries were developed to mitigate for loss of salmon habitat. A combination of water diversions, pollution runoff and poor hatchery management has led to a collapse of California salmon. If what is happening in the North Pacific is any indicator, we need to make aggressive moves to reform our hatcheries now.