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Study: Hatchery fish can succeed if bred from wild

Chinook salmon.jpg
The Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – New research has found that a hatchery using wild salmon to spawn the next generation can help rebuild endangered salmon runs without passing on genetic problems that threaten future generations.

The study, published Monday in the online edition of the scientific journal Molecular Ecology, contrasts earlier research suggesting that hatcheries themselves genetically select for fish that go on to fail once they are released into the wild.

Researchers from the Columbia River Intertribal Fish Commission tracked an endangered run of chinook salmon in a tributary of the Salmon River in Idaho.

Shawn Narum, lead geneticist for the commission, says the study shows hatcheries can be an important tool to prevent endangered salmon runs from blinking out, but he adds that healthy salmon runs still need healthy habitat.

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