Saturday, May 23, 2009

Comment on WDFW's proposed hatchery reform

Comments are due on WDFW's proposed hatchery and fishery reform document before June 1st. While the document has outlines some decent principles in so far as it goes, it fails to address many pressing issues. First, it suggests increased reliance on wild broodstock programs for harvest fisheries. Wild-broodstock programs have been in place for over 20 years in some places and they have never been anymore successful than integrated programs. Domestication selection occurs rapidly and the fitness, and resultant success in the wild of a broodstock fish declines within one generation of being spawned in the hatchery. Also, why would we be taking threatened wild fish out of the spawning population to create a domesticated population designed to enhance harvest opportunities? It doesn't make sense.

Also, the document does very little to address the ecological affects of hatchery programs and the underlying problem which is the sheer number of hatchery fish being dumped into puget sound as well as the columbia. Lastly, the policy document says absolutely nothing about Wild Fish Refugia. Until we are able to set aside our most pristine and productive ecosystems are refuges for wild fish we won't see any real recovery. Everything else is token measures. We need to encourage the department to implement large scale wild refugia projects in areas like the Skagit, Quilleyute and Hoh.

to view the document for yourself and provide comments either via email at or by mail at Washington Fish andWildlife Commission, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA98501-1091.

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