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Dozens of dead fish dumped into Snake River | Environment

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Dozens of dead fish dumped into Snake River
Environment, News
Dozens of dead fish dumped into Snake River

A local fisherman searching for a fishing hole came upon dozens of dead Northern Pikeminnow dumped into the Snake River near Red Wolf Crossing Bridge on June 30th.

An inquiry to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has turned up answers as to how the fish got there. According to Madonna Luers, Eastern Washington Public Information Officer for WDFW, the fish were evidently dumped into the river by one of the Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Program's local technicians on June 29th.

The program pays fishermen to catch pikeminnow over 9-inches in length because they are known to eat millions of salmon and steelhead juveniles each year in the Snake and Columbia River systems. The fish that are harvested as part of the Northern Pikeminnow Sport Reward Program are transported to a renderer where they are ultimately converted into fish meal, fertilizer, and animal food.

"Apparently the technician finished his shift at the Clarkston pikeminnow registration station that evening, found that the walk-in cooler (where we normally store these fish) was full, and dumped the fish," Luers says.

Luers says the technician did not tell anyone about the incident until later, and "has since been filled in about all the other options that would have been better and what to do if this happens again in the future."

A WDFW official will be checking the area tomorrow and will attempt to recover and remove any fish that still remain at the location, Luers says, adding that the agency apologizes to all who were affected by this mistake.

The 2014 season for the 2014 Northern Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Program got underway May 1st and continues through September 30th.

More information on the fishery: http://www.pikeminnow.org/

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