Can Oregon build a better fish?

fishingNatural Resource Note:

The Oregon Hatchery Research Center is trying to fix a growing problem among fishermen which is hatchery fish are less likely to bite than wild fish.   Can science save the day?   Below is a news clip on these developments that made national ABC News.

A growing body of evidence is showing that Steele’s experience is not some fish story, but the result of natural selection. Wild fish, which generally must be released unharmed, retain the aggression that will land them on the end of a hook better than hatchery fish.Prodded by fishermen, the Oregon Hatchery Research Center has agreed to see if it can breed the bite back into hatchery steelhead.Results won’t be known for at least four years, but one thing is certain: It makes no sense for the state to spend $25 million a year to produce fish for fishermen to catch, if those fish won’t bite.

As scientific evidence has grown that hatchery fish are less likely to survive in the wild, and even contribute to declines of wild fish, many hatcheries have been mixing in wild fish to improve the gene pool.Ryan Couture, the research center’s director, said this would be their first attempt to breed a better biter.

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