Washington Position Statements
***Updated November 2023***
Hatcheries throughout Washington play a vital role in salmon and steelhead conservation and recovery efforts while also creating sustainable fishing opportunities. Hatchery review efforts illustrate the need for better management of state, federal and tribal hatchery programs to fulfill these important roles. CCA Washington supports efforts that will lead to increased hatchery production and/or survival, including increased funding and scientifically based hatchery reform.
Selective fisheries are designed to capture targeted species while minimizing impacts to non-target species. In mixed stock fisheries of the Pacific Northwest, harvest tools must be capable of live capture, sorting and unharmed release of fish. When properly implemented, selective fisheries play an important role in maintaining and increasing hatchery production while also creating sustainable and more predictable fisheries.
Due to the superior conservation, economic and social benefits, CCA Washington believes that recreational fisheries should be prioritized over non-tribal commercial salmon fisheries. In circumstances where recreational fisheries are unable to catch enough hatchery fish and the excess hatchery fish are a proven threat to wild fish recovery, CCA Washington supports the usage of weirs and/or live capture, mark selective commercial fisheries to harvest the excess hatchery fish.
Hatchery salmon should be utilized to enhance freshwater ecosystems. As part of the salmon life cycle, adult salmon die after spawning and their remains transfer essential and energy-rich marine nutrients to the environment. Wild salmon adult returns have decreased significantly in many freshwater systems raising the need to reverse this nutrient loss. In the absence of abundant wild spawning fish, distribution of hatchery salmon carcasses provides these valuable marine nutrients to the ecosystem. Independent scientific reviews confirm the positive ecological benefits of distributing hatchery salmon carcasses in freshwater tributaries. Fisheries managers should prioritize available carcasses to be used as nutrient enhancement.
Catch Monitoring and Evaluation
CCA Washington supports catch monitoring and evaluation to identify and correct problems related to bycatch and overharvest. CCA Washington supports efforts to improve the accuracy of reporting and mortality assessments and to ensure accurate data is collected and analyzed by independent, third-party sources.
Derelict Fishing Gear
Thousands of derelict commercial fishing nets and crab pots litter our coastal and inland waters. Over their extended lives, this derelict gear kills thousands of fish, seabirds and other marine life. CCA Washington supports efforts to remove derelict gear, limit ongoing gear losses by mandating all commercial gear have proper identification, requiring the commercial industry to report lost gear, and to create and sustain a funding source to continue removal efforts.
Many predator populations have reached artificial and unnatural levels due to human actions and conflicting laws. CCA Washington supports science-based efforts to reduce the impacts of predation on adult and juvenile fish populations including salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in order to maintain healthy population levels for these species.
Wasteful fisheries and deteriorating habitat have severely impacted many populations of near shore marine fishes and many species of forage fish have been commercially overfished. CCA Washington supports conservative management of forage fish and believes that reform efforts should prioritize the forage fish’s essential ecological role as prey.
Healthy and functioning freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats are important elements in the life cycle of anadromous and marine fish. CCA Washington supports efforts to protect and preserve the ecological benefits of anadromous and marine fish habitat along with restoration actions focused on correcting the limiting factors that caused degradation.