Hatchery Concerns In California

Nimbus Hatchery on the American River. (KIRSTEN MCINTYRE/CDFW
Nimbus Hatchery on the American River. (KIRSTEN MCINTYRE/CDFW

Eyeopening piece in the Sacramento Bee about the concerns of fish hatcheries in California.  Drought conditions and fear of disease within the fish populations are the main theme of this report.

Here’s a little bit from Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow:

The browns and rainbows at the Mount Shasta hatchery are under isolation for a very different reason from their redband cousins.

State fisheries officials worry they may be carrying the spores of a highly contagious parasite that causes an ailment called whirling disease, which can decimate trout, salmon and steelhead populations. The parasite has been found in various state waterways for decades, and hatchery officials are trying to stop it from spreading further through infected hatchery trout.

They have quarantined Mount Shasta and another north state hatchery, Darrah Springs, where the new outbreak is believed to have originated. All told, the 3 million trout under quarantine equal about 15 percent of the trout stocks at state hatcheries.

Those imperiled redband trout at the Mount Shasta hatchery should be safe from the disease, despite their proximity, officials said. They’re being kept in an area that draws on a contained, parasite-free water system.

But as California weathers a fourth year of drought, the scenario playing out at the oldest trout hatchery west of the Mississippi River could portend a more complicated future for the state’s fish-hatchery system. As streams holding rare native fish dry up, it will put more pressure on the Department of Fish and Wildlife to choose between two distinct and sometimes competing mandates: sheltering endangered species to prevent their extinction, while simultaneously producing ample fish stocks for recreational anglers.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/state/california/water-and-drought/article24825115.html#storylink=cpy