Sunday, June 16, 2013

Clipping fish fins

Cedar Creek Hatchery
Hebo, OR

One of the jobs of the hatcheries is to clip the fins of the Chinook salmon.
They commonly clip the small Adipose fin in order to identify the fish  
as being raised in a hatchery as opposed to in the wild.
There is a bit of controversy around it, but I imagine it's better than tagging them.

The process is fairly simple but requires a lot of setting up.
We went down to a 'pond' not far from here to help.
It's a big holding pond, made of cement, where the fish are raised until released.
The Nestucca Anglers Club get over 200 volunteers to do the clipping.
First they corral the fish down at one end of the pond with a big net..

..and slowly get them all in one place..

At that point they scoop them up and put them into some small bins,
where they anesthetize them with a chemical that is in the water.
It is specially made for fish.

The volunteers scoop them up out of the bins, and distribute the 3" salmon
amongst the volunteers, and put them in separate tubs of water.

The process from there is to pick up a fish, snip the Adipose fin off with little scissors,
and throw them into the trough on the table that is filled with water flowing
back into the pond.
 Lots of people show up for this tradition!

Once the fish are back in the pond, the anesthesia wears off in about 20 minutes.

They can tell how many fish there are by weight,
approximately 300 per 5 pounds.
They clipped 100,000 fish in 2.5 hours!

However you feel about this procedure, it is part of the hatchery process.

Today after working around the grounds,
I took George out for Father's Day lunch.
We went into Pacific City and ate at a great little place called
George had a cheeseburger, and I had a salad & baked potato.
We both enjoyed a MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale,
it was good!

Afterwards, we took a walk on the beach..

There were a lot of families enjoying Father's Day!

George and I hope that everyone enjoyed today :-)


  1. Thanks for explaining how they do the Salmon clipping. Just not sure I understand WHY?? Is it for research or just to keep some kind of count? I just feel sorry for the poor little Salmon;o((

  2. I guess it must have something to do with the wild salmon counts. Still seems cruel. Your beach pictures sure make me want to hurry out there.

  3. I don't know enough about clipping to even have an opinion but I find the whole process fascinating. 100,000 fish is a lot of fish! Good thing for the volunteers. That could take you and George all summer and then some :)

  4. You have such a glamorous workamping job there. ;c)

    I'm sure there must be some kind of fun in clipping fins for so many people to volunteer. Are the volunteers searched at the end of the process to ensure there are no fish being smuggled out as free samples? :cD

  5. 100,000 fish! Holy cow, that's a lot of fish!