Chum and Get It: Washington Hatchery Gives Away Free Salmon

People with coolers in hand formed a line outside a fish hatchery in Washington this past Monday to get their hands on free coho and chum salmon. Instead of letting returning stocks of fish go to waste, a giveaway program at the Grovers Creek Hatchery allows each visitor to walk away with one salmon from the state’s Kitsap Peninsula.

A short photo story from the Associated Press explains that hatchery workers harvest the eggs from netted fish, scan each fish for electronic tags, and take appropriate measurements before giving them away. Visitors who didn't receive a fish on Monday were advised to return later in the week.

The Suquamish Tribe manages the hatchery—one of a few tribal hatcheries in Washington that offers a salmon give-away program. Other hatcheries plant captured salmon back into waterways, where eagles feed on and break down the carcasses. The decomposing tissue feeds insects, which feed young salmon.