Brandon Kilmer, WDFW fish hatchery specialist, checks out the size of the coho fry along with John Mahan and Brandt Ramsey, hatchery manager and assistant hatchery manager for the Quileute Tribe.Forks- The Quileute Tribe has saved more than 350,000 young Sol Duc River coho that were slated for extermination at the state’s Sol Duc Hatchery this year. Budget cuts by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) meant the Sol Duc Hatchery did not have the money to rear the fish to release size.

But the tribe stepped up and offered $31,000 to finish raising the fish and added working hours from their own staff to finish the job. “It’s a one-time deal,” said Roger Lien, fisheries biologist for the Quileute Tribe. “The cuts in the state budget occurred after the fish had already been spawned. What we’re doing is saving this bunch so they can be released next year, but the eggs won’t even be collected next year.”

The Quileute Tribe and WDFW work cooperatively on a number of different salmon and steelhead projects out of the state’s Sol Duc Hatchery and in combination with the tribe’s Lonesome Creek Hatchery.

“This helps everybody,” said Lien. “When the guys at the hatchery told us what was going to happen to these fish – we asked them to tell us how much they needed and council approved the cost.”
-End-

For more information, contact: Mel Moon, natural resources director, Quileute Tribe, (36) 374-5695; Roger Lien, fisheries biologist, Quileute Tribe, (360) 374-2478; Debbie Preston, coastal information officer, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, (360) 374-8666, dpreston@nwifc.org