Spokane fly-fishers had big hopes. So did Michigan salmon fishers. But their triploid fish projects didn’t pan out.
A year ago, anglers were rubbing their palms, expecting the first rush of 40- to 60-pound salmon in Lake Michigan. Michigan State University’s multiyear experiment with triploid salmon - those genetically engineered fish designed to exceed the normal fouryear life cycle and grow to unprecedented sizes - was about to bear fruit.
But few of the fish returned. Those that did weren’t monsters. They were midgets.
Contrary to successful trout experiments in British Columbia, the Michigan process of heat-shocking fertilized eggs to the point where chromosomes are altered apparently had other effects upon the fish.
Spokane fly-fishermen sponsored a project to stock triploid trout in area waters for research, but local anglers said the state Fish and Wildlife Department dropped the project with little enthusiasm and no explanation.