Blow All the Dams


“Hatcheries not only failed to boost the number of fish but also actually harmed the salmon by mining billions of eggs from wild populations. The fish hatcheries were designed to collect and incubate the maximum number of eggs with the greatest efficiency. In many cases, that meant all the eggs in the entire salmon run into a tributary were collected and brought into the hatchery. A rack or weir placed across a river blocked the migration and concentrated all the salmon trying to reach their spawning grounds. Adult fish held below a rack were easily captured and artificially spawned…

The destructive impact of racking was tremendous. For example, the Oregon Fish Commission built a hatchery on the lower Alsea River in 1915. To ensure an adequate supply of eggs, the state constructed a permanent dam and rack, which blocked the entire run to the upper river from 1916 to 1929. Eventually, upstream residents, outraged because the weir cut off their supply of wild fish, sent a load of dynamite downriver and blew up the rack.”
-Jim Lichatowich


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