Half a million chinook salmon fry die
Herald and News 1/7/07
BEND (AP) — More than half a million spring chinook salmon fry died at an Eastern Oregon fish hatchery when workers accidentally turned off their water.
About half may be replaced with fry from a nearby hatchery.
Even so, the loss could hurt tribal and recreational fishing on the Lower Deschutes River in a few years, when the fish would have returned.
About 600,000 of the 750,000 fry being raised at the Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery for release in spring 2008 died after workers left Tuesday.
At the hatchery, water normally flows through incubators containing trays full of salmon fry, which are about half the size of a pinkie finger.
‘‘We were installing a new piece of equipment, and we inadvertently turned off the water supply to some of our fish,’’ said hatchery manager Mike Paiya.
‘‘Normally, the water is continuously flowing through the incubator, so the water got stale for a period of time,’’ Paiya said. ‘‘The water was just sitting there instead of flowing through and getting oxygen to the fish, so they basically suffocated.’’