WDFW’s Susewind Issues Statement On ‘Painful Loss’ Of 6M Hatchery Chinook From Power Loss

THE FOLLOWING IS A SPECIAL W.D.F.W. STATEMENT FROM DIRECTOR KELLY SUSEWIND

On Dec. 14, the state’s Minter Creek Hatchery lost power during a windstorm and the facility’s backup generator failed to start. As a result, roughly 6 million chinook died.

SALMON INCUBATION TRAYS AT MINTER CREEK HATCHERY. (WDFW)

This is a painful loss for state and tribal fishers, for the communities that depend on fishing, and for southern resident orcas that feed on chinook.

We’re working with tribal co-managers and NOAA Fisheries to replace some of the salmon lost at Minter Creek with fish from other facilities and hope to announce more details on that soon.

Among the fish lost in the power failure were 500,000 spring chinook, which were part of an early effort at Minter Creek and other hatcheries to increase production of chinook to feed southern resident orcas. That loss is unfortunate.

I take this incident seriously. I have instructed staff to hire outside contractors to examine what went wrong with the backup generator and how our staff responded to the situation.

Based on those findings, we’re going to take steps to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future.

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