As the State Legislature plans on meeting in January to come up with a budget for the biennium, all departments are being asked to reduce their budgets given the COVID-19 pandemic. The State WDFW has proposed some closures of trout hatcheries.
Per their document: If this reduction is taken, it would result in the closure of four trout hatcheries, including: Arlington Hatchery in Snohomish County, Chelan Hatchery in Chelan County, Naches Hatchery in Yakima County, and Mossyrock in Lewis County. Closure of these facilities would result in reduced production of West slope cutthroat, eastern brook, rainbow trout, brown trout, golden trout, tiger trout, and kokanee. This production represents 13.8% percent of the statewide trout production and contributes to recreational fishing opportunities which have an annual economic value of $75.3 million economies (based on Wegge, T. 2009 Technical Memo. Economic Analysis of WDFW Hatchery Programs with Seattle CPI inflator and WDFW angler survey data, 2019). This reduction would also result in limited ability to participate in inland enhancement cooperative programs and would eliminate critical hatchery maintenance and repairs by 32% across all facilities, increasing the chances of catastrophic failures and fish loss. The fishing opportunities supported by these facilities contribute to the agencies license sales, so the reduction also risks reducing revenue for the state wildlife account (24N). Washington’s trout hatcheries play an important role in recruiting new anglers into the sport and providing fishing access to users with diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
This blog will follow this issue as the months unfold.