OLYMPIA — Starting July 1, the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force will assume management of the Mayr Brothers salmon hatchery, formerly the Wishkah River hatchery, on behalf of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Founded in 1980 as a cooperative effort to address declining salmon and steelhead runs in the Chehalis Basin, the task force funds and sponsors numerous enhancement projects to restore critical habitat and produce fish for recreational and commercial fisheries.
The Mayr Brothers hatchery is one of seven owned by WDFW in the Chehalis watershed and has long played a role in the task force’s enhancement efforts.
Since 1986, the non-profit organization Long Live the Kings has operated a chinook recovery program at the hatchery under an agreement with WDFW. Supported by local volunteers and organizations, the project has raised and released several million salmon for harvest over the years using natural fish-rearing techniques. Annually, the hatchery releases 200,000 chinook, 100,000 chum and 300,000 coho to local waters.
Long Live the Kings recently announced it was ending its 20-year tenure at the facility and returning responsibility for operations to WDFW. In subsequent discussions with WDFW, the task force expressed interest in managing the site and agreed to take over operations in July.
“Long Live the Kings, along with many partners and volunteers, has done an excellent job creating an effective hatchery that helps sustain salmon populations, support the Grays Harbor fishery and educate the community on this important natural resource,” said Ron Warren, regional manger for WDFW’s fish program. “We’re grateful for their contribution and pleased that the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, with their years of expertise, will be taking over operations.”
Dave Hamilton, president of the Chehalis Basin Fisheries Task Force, said the group is looking forward to managing the operation.
“Under Long Live the Kings, the hatchery became an exemplary community-based project and a valuable educational asset,” said Hamilton. “It plays a viable role in the basin’s salmon recovery effort and the fish produced at the hatchery provide an important benefit to the state and local economy.”