Jan. 16, 2015 -- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say this could be a record year for fish donations to Oregon food banks. Hatcheries just donated over 350,000 pounds- or 175 tons- of Coho and Chinook to food banks. The donations are a result of a run that saw a record 1-million Coho and 1.2-million Chinook returning to the waters of the Columbia River.
Rick Swart with ODFW says, "We have 30 hatcheries in the state. Once they have collected the eggs that they need for seed stock for the following year, then the rest of the fish that come back go to very specific places." Hatcheries on the coast also saw a lot of fish returning. The increased run follows a consistent year-to-year trend. "The last couple of years have been records," Swart says. "In 2013, we were calling that the best year in 40 years. But 2014 was even better. And for 2015, early indications are that it may be even better still, at least on the Chinook side."
Once the hatcheries gather the fish, some are given to Oregon tribes. The salmon are also competitively bid on by food vendors. The remainder are then donated to nonprofits across the state.
Photos courtesy of Rick Swart, ODFW