Natural Reproductive Success and Demographic Effects of Hatchery-Origin Steelhead in Abernathy Creek, Washington : Annual Report 2008.

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Many hatchery programs for steelhead pose genetic or ecological risks to natural populations because those programs release or outplant fish from non-native stocks. The goal of many steelhead programs has been to simply provide 'fishing opportunities' with little consideration given to conservation concerns. For example, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has widely propagated and outplanted one stock of winter-run steelhead (Chambers Creek stock) and one stock of summer-run steelhead (Skamania stock) throughout western Washington. Biologists and managers now recognize potential negative effects can occur when non-native hatchery fish interact biologically with native populations. Not only do non-native ... continued below

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160 pages

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Abernathy Fish Technology Center December 1, 2008.

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Description

Many hatchery programs for steelhead pose genetic or ecological risks to natural populations because those programs release or outplant fish from non-native stocks. The goal of many steelhead programs has been to simply provide 'fishing opportunities' with little consideration given to conservation concerns. For example, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has widely propagated and outplanted one stock of winter-run steelhead (Chambers Creek stock) and one stock of summer-run steelhead (Skamania stock) throughout western Washington. Biologists and managers now recognize potential negative effects can occur when non-native hatchery fish interact biologically with native populations. Not only do non-native stocks pose genetic and ecological risks to naturally spawning populations, but non-native fish stray as returning adults at a much higher rate than do native fish (Quinn 1993). Biologists and managers also recognize the need to (a) maintain the genetic resources associated with naturally spawning populations and (b) restore or recover natural populations wherever possible. As a consequence, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the NOAA Fisheries have been recommending a general policy that discourages the use of non-native hatchery stocks and encourages development of native broodstocks. There are two primary motivations for these recommendations: (1) reduce or minimize potential negative biological effects resulting from genetic or ecological interactions between hatchery-origin and native-origin fish and (2) use native broodstocks as genetic repositories to potentially assist with recovery of naturally spawning populations. A major motivation for the captive-rearing work described in this report resulted from NOAA's 1998 Biological Opinion on Artificial Propagation in the Columbia River Basin. In that biological opinion (BO), NOAA concluded that non-native hatchery stocks of steelhead jeopardize the continued existence of U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed, naturally spawning populations in the Columbia River Basin. As a consequence of that BO, NOAA recommended - as a reasonable and prudent alternative (RPA) - that federal and state agencies phase out non-native broodstocks of steelhead and replace them with native broodstocks. However, NOAA provided no guidance on how to achieve that RPA. The development of native broodstocks of hatchery steelhead can potentially pose unacceptable biological risks to naturally spawning populations, particularly those that are already listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. The traditional method of initiating new hatchery broodstocks of anadromous salmonid fishes is by trapping adults during their upstream, spawning migration. However, removing natural-origin adults from ESA listed populations may not be biologically acceptable because such activities may further depress those populations via 'broodstock mining'. In addition, trapping adult steelhead may be logistically unfeasible in many subbasins due to high water flows in the spring, when steelhead are moving upstream to spawn, that will often 'blow out' temporary weirs. Additional risks associated with trapping adults include genetic founder effects and difficulties meeting minimum, genetic effective number of breeders without 'mining' the wild population to potential extinction. As a result, alternative methods for developing native broodstocks are highly desired. One alternative for developing native broodstocks, particularly when the collection of adults is logistically unfeasible or biologically unacceptable, is captive rearing of natural-origin juveniles to sexual maturity. In this approach, pre-smolt juveniles are collected from the stream or watershed for which a native broodstock is desired, and those juveniles are raised to sexual maturity in a hatchery. Those hatchery-reared adults then become the broodstock source for gametes and initial progeny releases. Such a captive rearing program offers many genetic advantages over traditional adult-trapping programs for developing native broodstocks: (1) Large numbers of juveniles can be collected from the wild with only minimal impacts to naturally spawning populations because juvenile (age 0+parr)-to-adult survivals are typically very small (<1%) under natural conditions. (2) The genetic base of the broodstock (i.e. genetic effective population size) can be substantially larger for juveniles than adults because juveniles can theoretically represent the offspring of all adults that spawned successfully within a stream or watershed, as opposed to trapping only a small portion of returning adults for broodstock. (3) Collecting juveniles for broodstock can substantially reduce the risk of genetically 'swamping' naturally spawning populations with hatchery-origin fish (i.e. via a 'Ryman-Laikre effect') as occurs when hatchery-released fish represent the progeny of a relatively small number of trapped adults.

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160 pages

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  • Report No.: P109560
  • Grant Number: 36369
  • DOI: 10.2172/961809 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 961809
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc925571

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  • December 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Nov. 30, 2016, 12:28 p.m.

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Abernathy Fish Technology Center. Natural Reproductive Success and Demographic Effects of Hatchery-Origin Steelhead in Abernathy Creek, Washington : Annual Report 2008., report, December 1, 2008; Portland, Oregon. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc925571/: accessed June 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.