Word is spreading that Washington hatchery managers are in urgent need of help clipping salmon at a North Sound facility powering sport and commercial fisheries and orca forage initiatives.
A slow growing season, rising temperatures and other factors has WDFW worried that it will be a “real struggle” to mark all the fish being reared for release at the Samish Hatchery, which raises Chinook and coho, and so along with putting out a virtual help-wanted sign, the agency is leaning on members of the sportfishing world to volunteer as well.
Per a WDFW email forwarded yesterday afternoon by Ron Garner, state board president of Puget Sound Anglers, clippers are needed starting April 24 to work in two trailers where the adipose fins of the fish are cut off, marking them as harvestable hatchery salmon and differentiating them from wild ones, which typically must be released.
Samish production provides for sport and commercial fisheries in the Samish River, Samish Bay and nearby waters, and output there has also been increased in recent years to boost forage for southern resident killer whales. Lack of Chinook is believed to be one of three key reasons behind the iconic J, K and L pods’ decline.
The temporary gig is expected to run Monday through Friday for eight weeks, and WDFW plans to work double shifts – 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and 4 p.m. to midnight. Ten to 12 people can work in each trailer. The manual operation is termed “critical to our success this year” and an automated trailer is also being brought in.