Fisheries managers are trying to figure out what went wrong after not-so-great return of sockeye salmon to central Idaho this year. This outcome is despite high hopes and a new fish hatchery intended to help save the species from extinction. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game plans to form a working group to understand why only 27 of 660,000 juvenile fish raised in the hatchery and released in central Idaho in 2018 survived the two-year, 1,800-mile round-trip to the ocean and back to return as adults. Fisheries managers expected about 800.. The working group is expected to be formed in November.
John Powell of Fish and Game said the young fish showed good survival rates as they swam down the Salmon River to the Snake River to the Columbia River and to the ocean and conditions appeared ideal for the return trip. Powell said that this may mean that significant losses occurred in either the Columbia River estuary or the Pacific Ocean. Powell said adults that did return to Idaho tended to be smaller this year, an indication that ocean conditions might not have been favorable. (AP)