Man Kills 18,000 salmon by pouring bleach into hatchery tank

As heard on Outdoor Journal Radio

We here at Fish’n Canada cover lots of hatchery stories, but this was definitely a first…

As reported by the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, on Tuesday, April 23, 2024, around 6:30 p.m., a deputy patrolling the area observed a male walking south along Highway 101 near milepost 210. A short time later the deputy walked into the Salmon Trout Enhancement Program hatchery and observed that same male behind the locked gate and no trespassing signs. The male, identified as 20-year-old Gardiner resident Joshua Alexander Heckathorn, was contacted and interviewed by the deputy.

During the interview, Heckathorn admitted to trespassing on the property and entering a storage location and handling a chemical bottle on Monday.

As it turned out Heckathorn poured bleach into a Chinook salmon tank, killing about 18,000 fish.

In Oregon, the maximum penalty for poaching Chinook salmon – a species that is protected under the Endangered Species Act – is $750 per fish. If officials assessed fines for every salmon killed, Heckathorn could be asked to pay nearly $14m.

At present, Heckathorne has been arrested and booked into jail for second-degree burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief

One Response

  1. What ever this persons reasoning for killing all those salmon is, he broke the law in more ways than one. Salmon is on a food chain for animals and people, so what happens to those who eat these contaminated or dead salmon ? In my opinion Heckathorne should spend a long time in jail, like 18 months to 2 years less a day. He should also have a criminal record. He should also be educated the value fish is to the food chain is to people and wild life. Bottom line , put him in jail.

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