Kamchatka University Students Immersed in Oregon Hatchery IssuesNews & Program Updates
Inspiring and informing a new generation of salmon conservationists.
August 2009 - - Ekaterina Alexeeva and Alexander Tunkeev, students from the Marine Sciences Department at Kamchatka State Technical University, visited Oregon for a two-week work practice sponsored by the Wild Salmon Center (WSC), Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), and Oregon State University (OSU). This exchange is part of WSC's commitment to inspire and inform a new generation of salmon conservationists. In order for conservation efforts to achieve positive results in the long-term, they must be accompanied by significant investment in environmental education.
The work practice took place at the Oregon Hatchery Research Center (OHRC) in Alsea, Oregon, a state-of-the-art research facility that examines issues related to wild and hatchery salmon in order to best conserve wild stocks. Under the direction of facility managers and Dr. David Noakes, nationally recognized Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife at OSU, the students participated in all functions of the research center. They sampled and tagged fish, maintained tanks and raceways, and monitored fish growth. They also assisted graduate students at the OHRC with projects ranging from behavioral analysis of wild Coho salmon to the effects of diet on hatchery fish released into the wild.
Many nations along the Pacific Rim, including Russia and the U.S., have constructed hatcheries to compensate for drastic reductions in wild salmon. Unfortunately, salmon hatcheries, if not properly managed, can place wild salmon populations at risk. Some of the risks include high mixed stock harvest rates, ecosystem and genetic impacts, and disease transfer. Centers such as OHRC are determining what steps can be taken to minimize the potential impact of hatchery fish on wild salmon populations.By the end of their stay at the OHRC, Katya and Sasha had acquired an overall perspective of current salmon policy and practices in Oregon. They witnessed first-hand Oregon's move towards habitat restoration and monitoring as a way of protecting and strengthening wild salmon populations. In an interview with KEZI TV (Eugene, OR), Sasha stated, "This information is very important for us. I hope return to Kamchatka and teach people about this." Ryan Couture, Facility Manager at the OHRC, elaborates, "The role of people on Kamchatka is to preserve some of the last remaining pure wild salmon runs in the world. I hope these students take what they’ve learned about Oregon’s successes or failures in fish management and spread the word."