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199606700 - Manchester Spring Chinook Captive Broodstock Project

Sponsor: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Budgets: FY07: $795,407 | FY08: $636,326 | FY09: $572,694

Short description: Smolt to adult seawater rearing of spring and summer chinook salmon broodstocks from Idaho's Salmon River and Oregon's Grande Ronde River sub-basins. Provides adult fish for spawning or direct release in recovery programs for ESA-listed stocks.

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Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)

Funding category: Expense

Recommended budgets: FY07: $795,407 | FY08: $636,326 | FY09: $572,694


ISRP final recommendation: Fundable (Qualified)


The ISRP recommends “Fundable (Qualified)” with the qualification being that this project needs to be funded only if the Grande Ronde and Salmon River Chinook captive propagation proposals are funded. The technical and scientific background summarizes the problem facing managers trying to prevent extirpation of depleted animal populations, including Pacific salmon. The ISRP takes exception, however, to the first sentence of paragraph two on page 3: "Captive propagation of animals to maximize their survival and reproductive potential has won acceptance in endangered species restoration (Gipps ....)." In fact there is not a single species the ISRP is aware of that has been brought into captivity because the remaining numbers were so low that extinction was imminent, that has been returned to a self-sustaining status in the wild. Captive propagation remains a highly controversial avenue to pursue and should be regarded as experimental and untested. Project personnel prepared a generally thorough description of the project's history, providing very succinct and useful summary of the number of smolts from each population that were transferred to Manchester, the ages at which they matured, and the percent survival. It would be good to break this table down by sex as well. Questions remain, however, regarding the continuing need for and desirability of the project. Data presented to justify the project concern the number of fish produced in the program. The real assessment of the project is the character of the contribution to the viability of these stocks. The summary shows success in raising and spawning the affected fish, but there does not seem to be any information available to document the project's impact on the viability of these fish populations. The objectives were specific work elements. The ISRP believes it appropriate that this project have objectives similar to the 1998010006/1998010001 and 199700100 the Oregon and Idaho project for which they are rearing fish: prevent extirpation of listed ESU or independent populations of Chinook salmon, and contribute to the restoration of self-sustaining natural populations. The benefits are difficult to assess because the goal is to maintain or enhance the viability of the impacted stocks. The fish propagation goals are defined and measurable. Some benefit may accrue in the short-term for a threatened stock, but the techniques used here are inconsistent with recovery of threatened species in the long-term. The captive rearing at Manchester is unlikely to have major impacts on non-focal species, particularly since the effluent from the culture system is treated with ozone before discharge to Puget Sound. The most likely sources of impacts would be disease, possibly eutrophication of receiving waters, and interaction with escaped fish. These should be taken care of by the shore-based tank system.

State/province recommendation: MS: High Priority

Review group: MSRT

Recommended budgets: FY07: $795,407 | FY08: $636,326 | FY09: $572,694

Comment: This project must be funded to complete the evaluation of salt water rearing for captive brood stocks and implement a spread the risk strategy for Idaho stocks. It is identified as a 2004 Biological Opinion and UPA project. It was determined a High Priority project because this project may not continue after this funding cycle as a core program element, depending on the final evaluation.