NOAA Fisheries Policy Draft [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: NOAA Fisheries Policy Draft

05-07-2004, 08:00 AM
Here's a draft of the NOAA wild/hatchery policy that was e-mailed to me recently. I offer it without interpretation:

>March 25, 2004
>1. Under NOAA Fisheries 1991 Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU)
>policy (56 FR 58612: November 20, 1991), a distinct population segment of a
>Pacific salmonid species is considered for listing if it meets two
>criteria: (a) it must be substantially reproductively isolated from other
>conspecific population units; and (b) it must represent an important
>component in the evolutionary legacy of the species. A key feature of the
>ESU concept is the recognition of genetic resources that represent the
>ecological and genetic diversity of the species. These genetic resources
>can reside in a fish spawned in a hatchery (hatchery fish) as well as in a
>fish spawned in the wild (natural fish).
>2. In delineating an ESU to be considered for listing, NOAA Fisheries
>will identify all populations that are part of the ESU including
>populations of natural fish (natural populations), populations of hatchery
>fish (hatchery fish), and populations that include both natural fish and
>hatchery fish (mixed populations). Hatchery fish that are genetically no
>more than moderately divergent from a natural population in the ESU are
>considered part of the ESU, will be considered in determining whether an
>ESU should be listed under the ESA, and will be included in any listing of
>the ESU.
>3. Status determinations for Pacific salmonid ESUs will be based on
>the likelihood of extinction of an entire ESU. In assessing the likelihood
>of extinction of an ESU, NOAA Fisheries will recognize the necessity of
>conserving natural populations within the ESU, in line with the ESA's
>stated purpose to conserve "the ecosystem upon which endangered and
>threatened species depend," section 2(b). Natural populations that are
>stable or increasing, are spawning in the wild, and have adequate spawning
>and rearing habitat reduce the risk of extinction of the ESU. Such natural
>populations, particularly those with minimal genetic contribution from
>hatchery fish, can provide a point of comparison for the evaluation of
>effects of hatchery fish on the likelihood of extinction of the ESU.
>4. Status determinations for Pacific salmonid ESUs generally consider
>four key attributes: abundance, productivity, genetic diversity, and
>spatial distribution. The effects of hatchery fish on the likelihood of
>extinction of an ESU will depend on which of the four key attributes are
>currently limiting the ESU, and how the hatchery fish within the ESU affect
>each of the attributes. The presence within an ESU of hatchery fish that
>are genetically no more than moderately divergent from a natural population
>in the ESU can reduce the likelihood of extinction of the ESU, and affect a
>listing determination, by contributing to increasing abundance and
>productivity of the ESU, by improving spatial distribution, and by serving
>as a source population for repopulating unoccupied habitat. Conversely, a
>hatchery program managed without adequate consideration of conservation
>effects can increase the likelihood of extinction of an ESU, and affect a
>listing determination, by reducing genetic diversity of the ESU and
>reducing the productivity of the ESU. In evaluating the effect of hatchery
>fish in reducing the likelihood of extinction of and ESU, the presence of a
>long-term hatchery monitoring and evaluation program is an important
>5. Hatchery programs are capable of producing more fish than may be
>immediately useful in the conservation and recovery of an ESU and can play
>an important role in fulfilling trust and treaty obligations with regard to
>harvest of some Pacific salmonid populations. For ESUs listed as
>threatened, NOAA Fisheries will, where appropriate, exercise its authority
>under Section 4(d) of the ESA to allow the harvest of listed hatchery fish
>that are surplus to the conservation and recovery needs of the ESU in
>accordance with approved harvest plans.