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Nearly 250,000 fish escape from a Washington hatchery


Someone better catch those fish!

A large number of fish escaped from a hatchery in Washington State. Wildlife officials in the state believe the incident was the result of equipment failure, as opposed to human error.

Lyons Ferry Hatchery is located near Palouse Falls in Washington.
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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that 249,770 young rainbowfish were missing from the Lyons Ferry hatchery near the Snake River Basin, reports the Associated Press. The fish are believed to have escaped into the river and it is unclear how many, if any, survived.

The hatchery typically releases around 60,000 rainbow trout into the river, although this does not normally happen during fall or winter.

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Nearly 250,000 fish escape from a Washington hatchery

A failure of the rubber seal created a small gap in which some of the hatchery’s young fish were able to swim.
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Although the missing fish were barely noticed, it’s unclear when they actually escaped. Depending on the time of the escape, it is likely that many young fish fell prey to predators.

It is possible, however, that the fish survived, which would lead to an increase in the population of rainbowfish in Snake River.

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Nearly 250,000 fish escape from a Washington hatchery

It is unknown how many fish, if any, survived after leaving the hatchery.
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An investigation is ongoing, but it was reported that the fish escaped due to rubber seal failure. This created a one and a half inch opening, which was large enough for some fish to swim through. It is estimated that more than 60% of the fish in the hatchery escaped.

The hatchery transported the remaining 135,000 fish to Cottonwood Acclimation Pond near the Oregon border.

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The remaining fish will be released into the Grande Ronde River in April, before returning to the Columbia Basin in 2023.


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