by Cassandra Profit OPB Jan. 16, 2019
About half the salmon swimming up the Columbia River come from hatcheries — most of which are raised to be caught by fishermen. The rest are wild. And many of those salmon are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
For years, Oregon and Washington have been searching for the best way to catch more hatchery fish while letting the wild fish return unharmed to their spawning grounds. Now, one group says they’ve found it.
Fish traps were banned on the Columbia more than 80 years ago. But advocates with the Wild Fish Conservancy are revisiting the idea as a new, sustainable way to separate hatchery salmon from wild fish.
At a site near Cathlamet, Washington, about 40 miles upriver from the mouth of the Columbia, Wild Fish Conservancy biologist Adrian Tuohy stood hip deep in water in a cage just below the surface of the Columbia River.