Monday, April 30, 2012
Washington Legislature OKs $65 Million of New Hatchery Spending
The fact is, the Washington State hatchery system a massive, inefficient way of providing fishing opportunity which directly conflicts with WDFWs mandate to recover wild salmon and steelhead. A recent state auditors report revealed that each blackmouth chinook caught in Puget Sound costs taxpayers almost $800 dollars. In an economic climate when the state legislature has been forced to make massive painful cuts to education, critical social services, and environmental protection programs we should be closing state hatcheries. Instead, not a single hatchery program has been closed during the recession and the state legislature remains convinced that pumping millions of dollars each year into an environmentally destructive hatchery wellfare system is a good use of taxpayer dollars.
WDFW and hatchery advocates have argued that the expenditure is required to implement hatchery reform in the state but the fact is the best way to implement hatchery reform is to close hatcheries entirely. Instead the state has allocated $65 million to costly improvements of hatchery infrastructure that allow them to maintain the status quo. It's time for sea change in the paradigms that guide our fisheries management and the state hatchery system should be the first thing on the chopping block.