Letter to the Editor: Saving Wild Salmon

Saving Wild Salmon

We use to call salmon “salmon” but now we have to specify if they are wild or hatchery salmon. Hatchery salmon is THE BIG EXPERIMENT to see if they will either save or destroy our wild salmon. The degree to which they genetically impact wild salmon will decide if they help or harm them. Currently the ADF&G does not believe hatchery salmon will harm wild salmon.

Juvenile salmon hormone levels generate hatching, imprinting, smolting, feeding, size and spawning. Abnormal hormone levels result in minimum hatching, imprinting, smolting, feeding, size and spawning. Normal hormone levels result from an intact wild DNA genome. Hatchery salmon environments directly cause DNA genome degradation, which then results in abnormal salmon hormone levels. Those abnormal levels can then degrade a salmon’s migratory instincts and cause them to appear to drop off the map.

This all means that hormonal changes can reset a salmon’s migratory alarm clock along with changing its navigation and imprinting instincts. Those kind of radical changes can make entire salmon run collapse or disappear at sea. Hatchery salmon need to have their genomes examined and compared to the wild salmon genome BEFORE being allowed to mix with wild salmon. Any salmon type which does not maintain the wild salmon genome standard should be classified as an “invasive hatchery salmon” and not be allowed to reproduce with wild salmon. Currently the ADF&G has this wild salmon genome information for many locations but it lacks a desire, mandate or funding to enforce such a standard on hatchery salmon.

It took nature thousands of years allowing only the strongest to survive to produce today’s wild salmon. Hatcheries work to destroy that strength by allowing the weakest to survive and thereby corrupting that strength. Each hatchery salmon that enters the environment helps dilute wild salmon genetic strength by reproducing with wild salmon. Make no mistake this “long-term genetic corruption” is plainly being allowed by the ADF&G so humans can “short-term profit” from the marketing of weak salmon. If the ADF&G continues to ignore invasive hatchery salmon, and does not enforce a wild salmon genome standard on them, there eventually won’t be any wild salmon left to save.

— Donald Johnson, Soldotna

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