An equipment failure at Kalama Falls Hatchery led to the death of a large number of Coho salmon fry in Washington State.
The salmon fishing stocking program in Washington recently took a major hit when 200,000 Coho salmon fry died. The Kalama Falls Hatchery, in Cowlitz County, Washington, suffered a generator failure on March 9, 2015.
According to Cindy Le Fleur, the regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), “The salmon fry suffocated March 9 after a generator failed, destroying one pump and damaging two others, which reduced the flow of water to the hatchery’s incubation room.”
It is estimated that two-thirds of the 2014 Coho salmon hatch being raised at Kalama Falls Hatchery was lost during the incident. This could have a big impact on the Kalama fishery in a couple of years.
“We don’t have a firm estimate yet, because some of the fish that survived are in a delicate condition and we don’t want to disturb them to count the survivors,” Le Fleur went on to say.
The hatchery moved 1.1 million fall Chinook salmon fry and 500,000 spring Chinook fry to other state hatcheries nearby as a precaution. The pumps are expected to be repaired and replaced soon.
The Kalama Falls Hatchery was established in 1959 and raises several different species of salmon and trout for release into the area’s fisheries.