Conference call 800-356-8278, code 186685

We received many ideas and suggestions on how to guide hatchery actions and needs into the future. As you are all aware this is a complex issue and many aspects of this effort needs to be better defined.

From our discussion, it seemed, that one issue common to our needs is to focus on success and importance of artificial program activities in meeting mitigation and conservation objectives in the Columbia River Basin. To further our discussion and to take an agenda item to the Regional Coordination Forum scheduled on August 12th we proposed having an additional meeting to develop a high level mission statement.

Mission statement resulting from the input from this meeting, and additional input through the month of July:

The hatchery workgroup is committed to supporting a common vision for the Columbia River Basin that supports abundant, healthy wild fish and effective resident and anadromous fish hatcheries.  We support adequate funding for artificial fish production activities which are vital to the near and long-term success of Columbia River mitigation,while benefitting or minimizing impacts on wild fish.

  • The use of hatcheries in the Columbia River Basin was initiated in the mid-19th century with the purpose of replacing depleted wild fish runs due to activities and development in the Basin.
  • Today, Columbia Basin hatcheries primarily fulfill hydropower mitigation obligations supporting cultural, socioeconomic and conservation needs in the Pacific Northwest
  • The sciences associated with hatcheries and interactions with native fish species in the Columbia River Basin have been extensive.  Modern hatchery operations have incorporated extensive research and collaboration among scientists and managers to maximize benefits of hatcheries and minimize impacts to wild fish.  
  • Fish managers have updated hatchery strategies and operations throughout the Basin to improve culture and fish health, survival, fitness, straying, and ecological impacts, with the objective to meet their original purpose, including support for wild fish recovery.
  • Wild fish conservation and protection is an important purpose of some hatcheries providing unique opportunities for the recovery of populations.
  • The story of Columbia Basin fish hatcheries needs to be updated and told in an integrated, clear manner that explains the various purposes of hatcheries; how they have changed over time to meet cultural and mitigation goals; how they minimize impacts on wild fish; and how they fit in the regional picture of fisheries management.
  • We need to foster better communication to the public, but also among researchers, managers, and decision-makers.  That communication should lead to agreement on a common vision of fish propagation needs and priorities in the basin, and the exchange of information for the benefit of the resident and anadromous fish and use of the hatchery tool.
  • Challenges exist. Given the status of many wild fish populations and the continued need for hatcheries to mitigate for the diminished wild populations, the region needs open, non-polarized discussions on using hatcheries while supporting wild fish management in an adaptive manner.