Now the Season begins. As we humans put our holidays behind us, the fish are coming home to spawn! Here is the business end, updating our work to protect Steelhead & Coho.

Our staff, volunteers, and science contractor Stillwater are all working hard on a first draft of the Hatchery and Genetic Management Plan to permit our steelhead programs. It is a daunting task, but NOAA Fisheries has offered us encouragement and provided a template to guide the process. Our regional NOAA office appreciates that this permit is MBSTP’s lifeline. NOAA will be conferring with us regularly, once we have a first draft. There will be a number of cycles of review and revision. Getting this done in 12 months is ambitious, but we will do our best. Meanwhile trapping, spawning, and rearing of Steelhead are on hold. Those portions of the hatchery used for steelhead are not active this year.

The Coho spawning season is off to a good start! Reports from NOAA partner Erick Strum and MBSTP hatchery manager Mark Galloway are encouraging.

From Erick:
“We spawned four females today giving us eight on the season. I finished inputting/editing all the basic data we collect on the eggs collected from the females when they spawn. While most of you don’t care about size of eggs or number of eggs per gram, everyone cares about total number of good eggs collected. Good eggs are eggs that came off the skein and had the opportunity to be fertilized. We have spawned 8 females and to date have have collected 17,775 eggs. This is a great start to the season.”

And Mark added:
“No losses have resulted from Saprolegniasis, in fact, all captive brood adults observed and handled to date have been devoid of any fungal lesions….”

The equipment installed over the last two years is all up and running well. As a further precaution, brood stock are only being brought back from Warm Springs and the Santa Cruz Lab when they are fully or nearly ripe for spawning.