||Hatchery and Fishery Reform
||November 6, 2009
||/s/ Miranda Wecker
Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair
DOWNLOAD: Signed copy of POL-C3619 (PDF)
The purpose of this Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife policy is to advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead by promoting and guiding the implementation of hatchery reform.
Definition and Intent
Hatchery reform is the scientific and systematic redesign of hatchery programs to help recover wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fisheries. The intent of hatchery reform is to improve hatchery effectiveness, ensure compatibility between hatchery production and salmon recovery plans and rebuilding programs, and support sustainable fisheries.
General Policy Statement
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) shall promote the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead and provide fishery-related benefits by establishing clear goals for each state hatchery, conducting scientifically defensible-operations, and using informed decision making to improve management. Furthermore, it is recognized that many state operated hatcheries are subject to provisions under U.S. v. Washington and U.S. v. Oregon and that hatchery reform actions must be done in close coordination with tribal co-managers.
Artificial production programs will be designated as one of the following:
- Conservation Programs. Artificial production programs implemented with a conservation objective shall have a net aggregate benefit for the diversity, spatial structure, productivity, and abundance of the target wild population.
- Harvest Programs. Artificial production programs implemented to enhance harvest opportunities shall provide fishery benefits while allowing watershedspecific goals for the diversity, spatial structure, productivity, and abundance of wild populations to be met.
State commercial and recreational fisheries will need to increasingly focus on the harvest of abundant hatchery fish. As a general policy, the Department shall implement mark-selective salmon and steelhead fisheries, unless the wild populations substantially affected by the fishery are meeting spawner and broodstock management objectives.
In addition, the Department may consider other management approaches provided they are as or more effective than a mark selective fishery in achieving spawner and broodstock management objectives.
Hatchery reform should be implemented as part of an “all-H” strategy that integrates hatchery, harvest, and habitat actions. Although this policy focuses on hatchery and harvest reform, in no way does it diminish the significance of habitat protection and restoration.
In implementing the policy guidelines the Department shall work with the tribes in a manner that is consistent with U.S. v. Washington and U.S. v. Oregon and other applicable state laws and agreements or federal laws and agreements.
- Use the principles, standards, and recommendations of the Hatchery Scientific
Review Group (HSRG) to guide the management of hatcheries operated by the
Department. In particular, promote the achievement of hatchery goals through
adaptive management based on a structured monitoring, evaluation, and
- The Department will prioritize and implement improved broodstock management
(including selective removal of hatchery fish) to reduce the genetic and
ecological impacts of hatchery fish and improve the fitness and viability of natural
production working toward a goal of achieving the HSRG broodstock standards
for 100% of the hatchery programs by 2015.
- Develop watershed-specific action plans that systematically implement hatchery
reform as part of a comprehensive, integrated (All-H) strategy for meeting
conservation and harvest goals at the watershed and Evolutionarily Significant
Unit (ESU)/Distinct Population Segment (DPS) levels. Action Plans will include
development of stock (watershed) specific population designations and
application of HSRG broodstock management standards. In addition, plans will
include a time-line for implementation, strategies for funding, estimated costs
including updates to cost figures each biennium.
- Externally mark all Chinook, coho and steelhead artificial production that is
intended to be used for harvest except as modified by state-tribal agreements or
for conservation or research needs.
- Secure necessary funding to ensure that Department-operated hatchery facilities
comply with environmental regulations for passage facilities, water intake
screening, and pollutant control systems.
- Implement hatchery reform actions on a schedule that meets or exceeds the
benchmarks identified in the 21st Century Salmon and Steelhead Framework.
- Provide an annual report to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on progress of
- Develop, promote and implement alternative fishing gear to maximize catch of
hatchery-origin fish with minimal mortality to native salmon and steelhead.
- Seek funding from all potential sources to implement hatchery reform and
- Define "full implementation" of state-managed mark selective recreational and
commercial fisheries and develop an implementation schedule.
- Work with tribal co-managers to establish network of Wild Salmonid Management
Zones (WSMZ)1 across the state where wild stocks are largely protected from
the effects of same species hatchery programs. The Department will have a goal
of establishing at least one WSMZ for each species in each major population
group (bio-geographical region, strata) in each ESU/DPS. Each stock selected
for inclusion in the WSMZ must be sufficiently abundant and productive to be
self-sustaining in the future. Fisheries can be conducted in WSMZ if wild stock
management objectives are met as well as any necessary federal ESA
determinations are received.
1 Wild Salmonid Management Zone is equal in meaning and application to the term of ‘Wild Stock Gene Bank’ as used and defined in the Statewide Steelhead Management Plan.