In recent years Delphi’s wild salmon stock has been greatly supplemented by a major hatchery programme which produces an extra 50,000 juvenile smolts for release and migration to sea each year. These hatchery salmon are indistinguishable from their wild brethren apart from a clipped adipose fin to indicate the presence of a coded wire nose-tag.
These extra fish, reared in Delphi’s own hatchery, are tagged prior to release and make the same journey to the north Atlantic as their wild cousins. Those that return are just as sporting and powerful as the wild fish; in fact they would be indistinguishable from them were it not for their clipped adipose fin.
The hatchery programme provides very valuable scientific data. For research purposes and to protect the genetic integrity of the wild fish, all hatchery-origin salmon must be killed. Any wild fish, in contrast, must be released alive (unless it is the very first salmon of a fisherman’s life).