Cooperative Effort On Hatchery Surplus Report

On December 22, 2014, Advocacy President Tim Hamilton and Dr. Brian Kraemer, Ph.D. provided the WDFW Department and Commission with a detailed report that debunks the myth that hatchery fish returning to the hatchery in excess of egg-take requirements are somehow “wasted”. 

Highlights included:

The authors found the highest “return on investment” from hatchery production to state coffers comes from the recreational fisher who pays an average of 91¢ per pound in license fees while spending significantly within the local economy trying to capture the hatchery fish all the way back to the hatchery. Commonly referred
to as the “recreational opportunity”, those fish the Recreational Sector fail to catch are removed by the state’s surplus service contractor paying the state an average of 39.4¢ per pound. The revenue from the surplus contractor and a portion of the recreational license fee is then used as “seed capital” for nonprofit Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups” generating an additional $9.66 in grants for every dollar directed to the
RFEGs. The near ten fold increase effectively creates a price of approximately $3.94 per pound and added to recreational license fee contribution, the hatchery surplus fish pursued by the recreational fisher all the way back to the hatchery yields an effective rate of return of $4.85 per pound. The surplus service contract holder also donates approximately 200,000 lbs. of vacuum packed frozen filet to food banks across the state which if valued at only 50¢ per pound would provide an additional $100,000 in value.

As a comparison, the commercial gillnet fleet paid approximately 14.5¢ per pound for a total of $74,487 in combined license fees and excises taxes for fish removed from Willapa Bay in 2012.

The report is available for downloading or viewing online here