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Scientists Gather To Discuss 'State Of The Salmon'

Hundreds of scientists from all around the Pacific Ocean are headed to Portland this week to discuss salmon hatcheries. Rob Manning has more.

At the very least, salmon hatcheries are considered a way to provide fish for harvest, so that wild salmon can be left alone.

Hatcheries are also frequently used to bolster weak fish populations. But an Oregon State University study last year was the latest evidence showing hatchery fish cause genetic problems for their wild-born cousins.

State of the Salmon conservation biologist, Peter Rand says hatchery fish can also be a direct threat to baby wild fish.   

Peter Rand: “Many cases, hatchery fish are raised to a larger size, and when they’re released, they often feed on wild fish, they actually prey on them. This is often an effect that’s not acknowledged or not understood.”

This week’s conference in Portland will focus on problems like predation and disease. Organizers say the dearth of research in those areas has attracted the attention of international experts, commercial fishing groups, and federal officials.

State of the Salmon 2010 Conference