On January 8, 2001, the Council requested that the ISRP conduct a Step Three review of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe (SBT) and the Shoshone-Paiute Tribe (SPT) project titled "Shoshone-Bannock/Shoshone-Paiute Joint Culture Facility (project #9500600)" The goal of the project is to provide native trout for re-introduction of stocks affected by hybridization, habitat loss, and exploitation on the Duck Valley and Fort Hall Reservations.
The ISRP previously reviewed this project as part of the Fiscal Year 1999 and 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program project selection processes (see attachment 1) and recommended against funding the proposed Joint Culture Facility. The ISRP identified specific problems in the approach and identified data needs that were not addressed by the proposals.
Conclusion: Do not move beyond Step 3 and into construction. The submittal did not adequately address the conditions provided in the Council’s Step 2 decision, with the exception of the issue of whirling disease. Most concerns raised in the Step 2 review by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory were not adequately addressed. The ISRP raised similar concerns in its 1999 and 2000 proposal reviews. More importantly, the proposors have not demonstrated that a hatchery is biologically justified to address native species restoration on the Fort Hall and Duck Valley Indian reservations. Production needs of the DVIR (non-native rainbows for put-and-take fisheries in two closed reservoirs) could be addressed through contracting with a variety of existing private or state aquaculture facilities in southern Idaho.
We note that the Joint Culture Facility has received negative recommendations in previous ISRP reviews. The reviews consistently have noted that the potential benefits of the proposed hatchery cannot be described until the status of local fish stocks is more thoroughly established. It remains unclear whether the local ecosystem could support hatchery fish, whether production of hatchery fish could solve the hybridization problem (considered unlikely by previous and current reviews), and whether hatchery production is needed to increase abundance of native cutthroat trout if habitat improvements alone continue to result in increased cutthroat trout abundance. Hatcheries carry well-established biological risks: domestication, disease, displacement of wild fish, potential erosion of genetic fitness of native species broodstock. In addition, experience suggests that hatchery rearing of wild Yellowstone cutthroat or redband trout will be difficult at best. Given these conditions, there remains no clearly articulated argument for biological benefits of the proposed culture facility.