Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Hatchery Reform Project
May 5, 2003
Good morning. I appreciate this opportunity to say a few words today.
We’re here because of two extremely important but sometimes-conflicting goals. We’re working to recover wild salmon populations. We must also support sustainable fisheries. We cannot accomplish both of these goals unless we use all of the tools available.
In the past, we’ve been working hard to support habitat recovery, working watershed-by-watershed. But habitat recovery isn’t enough. Habitat recovery alone will not raise salmon levels enough to support naturally spawning populations. Habitat recovery alone will not achieve sustainable fisheries.
We now realize that hatcheries offer a very effective tool in meeting the goals of salmon recovery and sustainable fisheries. The question is how to manage hatcheries in coordination with habitat recovery efforts and changes in salmon harvest.
I support the Hatchery Reform Project because it addresses this critical question. And I strongly support and appreciate the hard work of the Hatchery Scientific Review Group. Your evaluation of the current hatchery system is based on science. You are evaluating against measurable goals. You are making recommendations for change watershed-by-watershed and system-wide. These are the building blocks for a successful outcome.
I applaud the state and federal agency directors for embracing this independent scientific review. We all look forward to the completed recommendations. At that point we will need to implement a redesign of the hatchery system. I urge the agency directors to work closely with the scientists to make sure the implementation is scientifically defensible.
I would like to thank the U.S. Congress—especially Representative Norm Dicks—for creating this project and securing the funding. I have just sent a letter to our Congressional delegation urging continued support for this effort.
We are doing our part at the state level. Last year I requested and the Legislature approved $1.7 million in Capital funds to support implementation of the scientists’ recommendations. This year I’ve proposed $7 million for that purpose.
While the House and Senate have not agreed to a budget both have included the $7 million in their proposals. I am optimistic.
We have a great opportunity to achieve both of our goals of recovering wild salmon population and sustainable fisheries. And we have a great opportunity to pioneer reform in managing the hatchery system and salmon recovery efforts together for the best possible result.
Thanks again for your efforts, and keep up the good work!