Co-manager hatchery policy development

On April 9, 2021, the Fish and Wildlife Commission passed the new Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery Policy (C-3624).  As part of this policy, the Commission instructed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) director “to begin development of a joint policy agreement on salmon and steelhead hatchery programs with Tribal Co-Managers.”  Once approved by the Commission and individual tribal co-managers, this new policy would become a Commission policy and supersede “the provisions of [C-3624] in the geographic area applicable to the particular agreement.”

Technical staff from WDFW, individual tribes, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC), and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC) began work on the draft co-manager policy in September 2021 under the direction of a subset of commissioners and tribal policymakers.  After a series of outlines and preliminary drafts, and periodic reviews by the policymaker committee, a final draft co-manager hatchery policy was approved by the policymaker committee on Nov. 4, 2022, for review and evaluation by all individual tribal co-managers and the Commission. 

The draft co-manager hatchery policy (titled “Joint Policy Agreement for the Management of Anadromous Salmon and Steelhead Hatcheries Between Treaty Tribes and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife”) was initially introduced to the Commission’s Fish Committee on Dec. 8, 2022, and again on Jan. 26, 2023.  WDFW staff presented the draft policy to the full Commission on Jan. 27 and 28.  The Commission approved the distribution of the draft Co-Manager policy for public review and requested that WDFW staff begin SEPA evaluation of the draft policy. 

The draft co-manager hatchery policy is a joint commitment by the state and tribal co-managers to work as co-managers to develop and implement hatchery management plans. The hatchery management plans are/will be focused at the watershed or regional scale.  Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) are examples of hatchery management plans. Many of the HGMPs have already been completed.