Hatchery and fishery reform policy review

On June 15, 2018, the Fish and Wild Commission (Commission) directed the agency to review and update its Hatchery and Fishery Reform Policy (C-3619). The policy was originally adopted in November 2009 with a stated purpose to advance the conservation and recovery of wild salmon and steelhead by promoting and guiding the implementation of hatchery reform.

The Commission directed the agency to initiate a review of all sections and aspects of the policy, including:

  • Performance results since adoption of the policy;
  • Updating the scientific elements of the policy, with particular emphasis on emerging scientific information; and
  • Providing language alternatives for possible policy revisions, including adding a categorical designation for mitigation hatcheries and changing the tone to reflect the positive value of hatchery programs.

During this review period, the Commission directed the agency to leave the policy in effect except for policy guidelines 1, 2, and 3, which were to be suspended for salmon species other than steelhead. Policy guidelines 1, 2, and 3 mandated the use of principles, standards, and recommendations of the Hatchery Scientific Review Group regarding hatchery operations.

The purpose of suspending policy guidelines 1, 2, and 3 for salmon species other than steelhead was to allow for some flexibility in hatchery Chinook production to enhance the abundance of prey for Southern Resident Killer Whales and to allow full consideration of the maintenance or enhancement of hatchery programs for salmon species other than steelhead while still providing adequate protection of wild fish.

Public review draft of policy C-3619 revisions

On Aug. 1, 2020, the Commission approved the release of draft policy language revisions for public review.   The Commission is asking that all interested and affected individuals and entities provide written comment by the end of the day on September 7 so that they can be distributed and considered in advance of their Sept. 10-12 meeting.  Public testimony will also be taken and considered at this meeting.

Draft Policy C-3619 Revisions for public review.

Questions? Contact Laurie Peterson, fish science division manager, at laurie.peterson@dfw.wa.gov.