Fish Salvage at the Makah

Do you know your fish?


Me and my coworkers holding some pacific lampreys,

Who would have thought that time moves so slowly in Neah Bay, Washington? Something about being at the tip of Washington, it seems like the whole world has disappeared. Last week I headed up to the Makah National Fish Hatchery to do some fieldwork. We helped with a fish salvage project at the Makah National Fish Hatchery. During this project, we conducted electrofishing and seining to save as many fish as possible from the construction site. This was my first time seeing electrofishing being performed in person, and it amazed me to see how effective it was at attracting fish to the water’s surface. The hardest part was trying to catch all the fish that swam to the surface since it was such a quick action, but by the end of the second day, I had gotten it down. Once we gathered enough fish to fill a bucket, we would start separating the juvenile salmonids and trout since they need to be worked on quickly to induce minimum stress. At first, I observed my coworkers and asked how they knew what fish species it was. Then, I learned that the juvenile Coho has a crescent-shaped anal fin and that a Chinook had wider par marks and no crescent shape to the anal fin. After a day of watching, I was more confident in identifying the fish we were seeing and started identifying them on the project’s second day. The most shocking thing we saw during this fieldwork was not one but five pacific lampreys, this was the first time many of us had seen one alive, and it was such a great experience to hold one and even get some information about them from one of our coworkers who studied them for her master thesis. This fieldwork has been my absolute favorite. I learned so much within the three days there, it was so great to see how many different creatures were actually in the Tsoo-Yess River.


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