Friday, September 17, 2010

Coho Have Returned!

Sorting coho salmon at Quilcene National Fish Hatchery
Sorting coho salmon

It’s that time of year again when thousands of coho salmon return to Quilcene National Fish Hatchery after having spent the last year and a half feeding in the Pacific Ocean.

Our office coded-wire tagged a portion of these fish as juveniles in 2008 in order to measure their survival. We test the returning fish with magnetic detectors to identify those fish that still have tags. The tags are removed and read and the survival rate calculated. Quilcene coho survive at a fairly high rate, so after a day of sampling hundreds of fish for tags our arms are pretty worn out. This year we're especially tired---Hatchery Assistant Manager Dan Magneson said that these are the biggest fish he can recall in recent memory.

Please visit Quilcene National Fish Hatchery to see us in action or to enjoy a guided tour. Tours can be arranged by calling the hatchery at 360-765-3334.