Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8035
Title: Balancing conservation and harvest objectives  a review of considerations for management of salmon hatcheries in the Pacific Northwest
Author: Thomas A. Flagg
Publication Year: 2015
Journal: North American Journal of Aquaculture
Keywords: aquaculture,hatcheries,Hatchery reform

 The Pacific Northwest (PNW) contains one of the largest suite of hatchery programs for anadromous salmonids in the world, with about 500 programs producing about 325 million juvenile fish.  A total of about 700,000 Pink Salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha, 21 million Steelhead O. mykiss, 50 million Chum Salmon O. keta, 32 million Sockeye Salmon O. nerka, 41 million Coho Salmon O. kistuch, and 182 million Chinook Salmon O. tshawytscha are released annually from PNW hatcheries.  These hatchery fish provide for robust sustainable fisheries and their production and release are set to meet legal agreements, international treaties, and treaty trust responsibilities.  However, this level of hatchery production can often have negative effects on the conservation of U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed salmon populations in the region.  A review of the development of best management practices to balance conservation and sustainable fisheries goals for salmon hatcheries is presented.  Hatcheries operated in an integrated ecosystem context may increase conservation of primary ESA-listed stocks of importance by 25% -70%, depending on species, while at the same time increasing overall harvest benefits by about 15%.  To be successful, every hatchery program must be scientifically defensible, have well-defined and documented goals, and be flexible and respond adaptively to new information.