Each year the fish marking crew is responsible for the marking of over 30 million fish in the Columbia River Basin. This may mean simply removing the adipose fin, inserting a coded-wire tag into the fish snout, or a combination of the two. In addition, over a quarter million fish are PIT tagged.
Mass marking refers to the removal of the adipose fin from young hatchery fish before they are released into the wild. Removal of this fin identifies hatchery fish from their wild counterparts. In selective fisheries, hatchery fish may be harvested while wild fish must be released unharmed. Federal law now requires mass marking of most salmon and steelhead reared at federally funded hatcheries.
|Pictured left to right: Jesse, Geoff, Dan, Darren, Pat, Steve, and James (Chuck is not present)|
The team begins each year with a few PIT tagging jobs in the Columbia River Gorge. By mid–February, the crew starts their biggest single marking job at Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery. They run three automated fish marking trailers (2 shifts a day) for almost two months. Just to give you an idea about the enormity of the job, about 12 million fish are mass marked at this hatchery alone. In addition, a small portion of those are also being inserted with a PIT tag or coded-wire tag.
|PIT-tagging at Dworshak NFH|
This team has been voted the CRFPO Team of the Year because of their hard work and dedication. The following saying was adapted from James Farley: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays the marking crew from the swift completion of their appointed duties. With that, Congratulations Fish Marking Team!
Read more about the marking program at these past blogs. Staggering Numbers http://www.fish-notes.blogspot.com/2012/02/staggering-numbers.html
Marking and coded-wire tagging at Winthrop NFH http://www.fish-notes.blogspot.com/2011/09/marking-and-coded-wire-tagging-at.html