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199305600 - Research to advance hatchery reform, including captive broodstocks

Sponsor: Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Budgets: FY07: $1,474,045 | FY08: $1,512,513 | FY09: $1,567,424

Short description: This project will provide guidance on management of Columbia River Basin hatcheries, including captive broodstocks. Research will focus on developing methods to improve broodstock management and fish quality and reduce negative ecological interactions.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,000,000 | FY08: $1,000,000 | FY09: $1,000,000

Comment: Reduce the work elements to priority elements.

ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)


Although the various components of this complex project will all provide valuable results, the ISRP wishes to express its concerns. A strategy of increasing the costs over time to support research to learn about hatchery reform may result only in incrementally small changes in the nature of the hatchery product. "Hatchery reform" is an endpoint that still may fall short of producing hatchery-origin fish whose integration with wild populations would not cause significant fitness decreases. Technical and scientific background: This is a huge project, which makes its review cumbersome and difficult. It takes some review effort just to determine how all of the components fit together and are coordinated, especially how all of them fit in with various monitoring and evaluation (M&E) efforts to assess success. The multiple components fit into these five objectives: 1. Maintain adaptive life history strategies in hatchery Chinook salmon; 2. Improve olfactory imprinting and reduce straying in hatchery salmon; 3. Use environmental factors to match wild phenotypes in Chinook and sockeye reared in hatchery supplementation programs; 4. Improve Fish Health and Quality by Prevention and Treatment of Bacterial Kidney Disease; and 5. Identify genetic and environmental factors influencing male precocity and fitness in hatchery Chinook salmon. The technical and scientific background used to set up the objectives and the entire proposal is very extensive. Rationale and significance to subbasin plans and regional programs: This multi-faceted project has clear significance to hatchery reform, which is critical to continued use of this technology as a management tool. The rationale and significance are laid out well - by objective - and explain how each relates to the 2004 APRE, the 2000 Fish and Wildlife Program, the 2004 BiOp, and the 2006 Council’s Draft Research Plan. Relationships to other projects: The linkages to other projects are evident in the proposal. Project history: The past accomplishments are well summarized and demonstrate how the project has evolved over time. Objectives: The biological objectives are extensive, but largely task oriented. An overarching biological objective is needed. Tasks (work elements) and methods: The methods are detailed and useful, although we question the value of the experiments on determining the consequences of inbreeding. While quantifying the consequences of inbreeding would be beneficial, it is well recognized that inbreeding is to be avoided. The provided methods are extraordinarily detailed and complete, almost more than a reviewer can deal with. Monitoring and evaluation: This project is more experimental in nature than on-the-ground. So, data analysis and interpretation are more appropriate terms here. As such, that activity is documented well. Facilities, equipment, and personnel: The facilities, equipment and personnel are excellent in all regards. Information transfer: This is outlined adequately; project proponents have published in the peer reviewed literature and presented at regional and national conferences. Benefits to focal and non-focal species: The results of the proposed research would likely decrease the negative impact of artificial production programs on natural populations. This project should do little harm to non-focal species, and some findings may translate to other species.

State/province recommendation: MS: High Priority

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $1,468,100 | FY08: $1,468,100 | FY09: $1,468,100

Comment: This project has provided core research evaluating captive broodstock methodologies. Some MSRT members expressed concern that BPA is funding some research that may be more appropriately funded within NOAA's congressional budget. Cost share? The project appears to be a grab bag of important research items. Some research items may be more important than others. The MSRT ranked the project as High Priority without a clear understanding of the importance of each question the project is attempting to address. Although this is an ongoing project, some of the tasks proposed are new. The proposal merits additional scrutiny to determine high priority research topics and reduction in budget. The MSRT would like to see better integration with project number 200203100 and 200733500. There appears to be some lack of coordination and possibly some duplication between this older “parent” project and several of the new NOAA proposals in this group.