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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 27, 2011 at 12:07 PM

New Cedar River Hatchery starts incubating salmon eggs with 8.5-million on hand

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With the dedication of the newly built permanent Cedar River Hatchery complete it is time to get to work on producing salmon, and that is what the hatchery crews are doing right now.

“After a long, frustrating, and difficult journey we have finally completed the new hatchery construction project, and (state Fish and Wildlife) staff will start incubating eggs in the new facility (starting Thursday, Oct. 26),” said Paul L. Faulds, the Seattle Public Utilities Landsburg Mitigation Manager.

“Over the next two months eggs incubating at the interim hatchery will be transferred to the new hatchery, and green eggs from existing broodstock will go directly in the new hatchery,” Faulds said.

The hatchery has more than 8.5-million salmon eggs at this point, and the hopes of reaching 10-million is within reach.

A temporary hatchery in place since 1991 had the capacity to produce 17 million fry, but only did it once during that period. The permanent hatchery could produce 34 million fry.

That temporary hatchery made sport and tribal fisheries possible on Lake Washington in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.

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It took more than two decades for the $7.9-million permanent Cedar River Hatchery to be completed last month.

In 2006, a return of 470,000 sockeye allowed an 18-day sport fishery, and was a big shot in the arm of the economy for all related industries.

Since then sockeye runs have dropped nearly to all-time lows, and this summer’s return of 44,000 was well below the 350,000 needed to meet spawning escapement before any type of fisheries are allowed.

(Photos taken by Mark Yuasa)

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