How you take a fully integrated chinook hatchery/wild stock and end up with what we have today is beyond me.
Well you do it buy having massive straying which degrades natural gene flow by massive hatchery influence. I worked with Chinook for many years and what existed in Willapa is 100% the opposite of integrated. The desired outcome of integrated is the natural gene flow into the hatchery brood. In Willapa WDFW did the opposite and that means it may be genetically same but the gene flow is ass backwards.
This is exactly what is happening to Quinault steelhead...the NOR steelhead there are trashed, the hatchery run has become the genetic contributor...and when the hatchery run crashes, as they all do eventually, the "wild" run will go right with it.
They just closed the Quinault to commercial netting because of a lack of hatchery broodstock returning...if that doesn't turn around lickety split, you will see a concurrent sinking of the wild fish.
I am sure those who have been advocating for Quinault style hatchery management all over the place will find someone else to blame it on, but the fact of the matter is that anyone with half a wit about hatchery/wild integrated hatcheries has seen this one coming for a while, it's literally just a matter of time.
Streams like the Wilson in Oregon will be next...the "integrated" system there is overwhelmingly dominated by hatchery fish returning and spawning, and when that crashes, as they do, then there will a big surprising lack of "wild" fish spawning in the subsequent generations.
The Quinault uses wild brood for it's hatchery stock. How do the Steelhead brood programs North of the border fit into this argument? The Vedder for example does not seem to have the dual crash issues referenced here. One would think if a wild brood hatchery program on a given river exists, the wild and hatch. fish both would have the same issues? What other BC brood program examples might exist that would display Wild and Hatchery crash concurrence?
“Smart people only believe half of what they hear. Smarter people know which half to believe”