In response to the Council’s February 17, 2015 request, the Independent Scientific Review Panel (ISRP) evaluated the White Sturgeon Hatchery Master Plan: Lower Columbia and Snake River Impoundments prepared by the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission (CRITFC). This is a Step One review for the Council’s Three Step Review Process for artificial production programs. This Master Plan is a component of CRITFC’s Project #2007-155-00, Develop a Master Plan for a Rearing Facility to Enhance Selected Populations of White Sturgeon in the Columbia River Basin and the Yakama Nation’s Project #2008-455-00, Sturgeon Management.
Overall, the ISRP finds that the draft Master Plan is well organized and clearly written. However, the ISRP requests a written response to address the following 10 issues as part of the Step One review:
- Provide more comprehensive life history data in the Plan.
- Describe how sustainable harvest rates are presently determined for impounded populations (and how this may be modified after stocking).
- Demonstrate how management will ensure that wild sturgeon will not be overharvested.
- Provide better justification for expanding the harvest.
- Evaluate alternative strategies more thoroughly.
- More thoroughly evaluate long-term consequences and uncertainties of a hatchery program based on small numbers of brood fish.
- Clearly describe how carrying capacity will be assessed by monitoring “post release responses to increasing density.”
- Is stable annual recruitment natural or necessary for the ecological well-being of the sturgeon populations or is it just desirable for the fishery?
- More fully consider effects of stocked hatchery sturgeon on other species and the fishery.
- Provide clarification on facilities.
See the full report for details.