Washington's State Fish in Danger of Extinction
Steelhead, Washington's State Fish, have been on the decline for over a century. One hundred years ago, steelhead returns to the Puget Sound region ranged from 325,000 to 800,000 annually. Today, the number has declined to roughly 13,000. Five distinct population segments of Washington steelhead, including Puget Sound and Hood Canal steelhead, are now listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Testing the Efficacy of Hatchery-Rearing Wild Steelhead to Recover a Threatened Population
Current hatchery practices have been identified as a contributing factor to the decline of wild steelhead and salmon, and yet artificial propagation is looked to as one tool for recovering wild populations. To address this paradox, Long Live the Kings partnered with NOAA and others to establish the Hood Canal Steelhead Project. The project is a first-of-its-kind experimental study to assess the effects and effectiveness of supplementation when utilizing low-impact, innovative wild steelhead supplementation techniques in streams throughout the Hood Canal basin, where sufficient habitat exists to support much larger wild steelhead populations than currently survive.
A Multi-Agency Partnership for Steelhead Recovery
Under the direction of NOAA researcher, Dr. Barry Berejikian, the Hood Canal Steelhead Project represents a significant collaboration between NOAA Fisheries, Native American tribes, State and Federal agencies, community groups, and non-profits, and includes the participation of many watershed-level volunteers. Over 40 individuals from 9 collaborating organizations are involved in the project.
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Did You Know?
Steelhead is Washington's "State Fish" and one of our most popular for recreational fishing.
Puget Sound steelhead can reach up to 35 pounds in weight and 45 inches in length.
An anadromous species, steelhead migrate from a marine environment to the freshwater rivers and streams of their birth in order to mate.
Unlike other Pacific salmonids, steelhead can spawn more than one time.