I thought I would share with you the fin clipping process here at the Washington State Salmon Hatchery on the North Fork Lewis River. This is the time of year when last falls hatchery Coho and some naturally spawning Chinook are marked for sport, commercial and scientific reasons.
Two marking trailers are brought in and set up with electricity and water for the process.
Water for the mass marking unit is taken from, and returned to, the raceways. Water from the bar code trailer is returned directly to the river.
A small sample of 100,000 or so Fall Chinook fry are seined from a couple spots in the river and brought to these holding tanks.
From there, they are moved to the trailer’s holding tank.
Hand netting a small batch of fish, they are place in an anesthetizing bath, sorted for species and size.
If the fish is too small or something other than a Chinook, it is returned to the river. The fish then have their adipose fin removed and placed in a secondary holding tank.
Again the fish are hand dipped and placed in the anesthetizing bath.
(continued in part 2)