A Vancouver news blog reported that “the most insane salmon was just caught in B.C.,” and by the looks of it, this Chinook salmon really is insane—insanely huge.
Undoubtedly it would be the envy any salmon fisherman, but there’s a catch to this giant salmon: It wasn’t caught by a fisherman.
As Vancouver Is Awesome pointed out, the giant Chinook salmon was captured in a net in the Wannock River by the Pacific Salmon Foundation as part of a conservation project with Percy Walkus Hatchery.
One commenter on the Vancouver Is Awesome Facebook post questioned why this salmon wasn’t released and allowed to continue upstream to spawn.
Tim Berninger, a fishing guide from Pender Island, B.C., explained it perfectly in his reply: “Because you want to use its genes in breeding the next generation…Hatcheries set nets to collect specimens to breed, and those fry have about a 1000% higher chance of surviving than letting it spawn naturally. Once its babies are 4″ long, they’ll get released into the wild.”
According to the Percy Walkus Hatchery website, hatcheries contribute significantly to the production of Pacific salmon with an estimate of 22 to 37 percent of the salmon produced in the Pacific Ocean originating from hatcheries.
This year, 94 salmon were captured for the project and 300,000 eggs were collected.
Each year volunteer crews help to ensure the next generation of Wannock River Chinook by doing “egg takes” where they collect sperm from males and eggs from females and bring them back to the hatchery to give them a way better chance of surviving than if they were left in the river to reproduce naturally…
Oh, and the fish looks INSANELY HUGE because it is; the Wannock River salmon have arguably the best genetics in the world and the Chinook that people catch here while fishing are the ones you often see hanging in fishermen’s living rooms. They are trophy fish…
Keeping this river system healthy with wild fish is in the best interest of not only the ecosystem itself but the industry, and all of the humans who enjoy fishing, and being able to support their families. It’s a win, win, win.
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