In November, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it does not intend to close any of the nation’s national fish hatcheries in the current fiscal year, but warned that closures may be necessary in FY 2015 given fiscal uncertainty and growing operations costs.
A recent report examines the challenges facing the USFWS National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS).
“This report sounds the alarm on a hatchery system unable to meet its mission responsibilities in the current budget climate,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “In the coming months through the 2015 budget process, I have directed the Service to work with all of our partners to determine whether the options identified in the report, or others, are necessary and appropriate to put the system on a more sustainable financial footing.”
National fish hatchery operations have been greatly impacted by sequestration, which reduced the NFHS budget. NFHS could lose additional funding if sequestration continues into FY 2014.
In the fall of 2012, USFWS launched a comprehensive review of the 70 fish and aquatic species propagation hatcheries to ensure it will be positioned to address highest priority aquatic resource needs now and into the future while working within its budget limitations.
The National Fish Hatchery System: Strategic Hatchery and Workforce Planning Report outlines the current propagation programs as well as problems associated with sustaining operation of the NFHS in its current configuration, and suggests possible changes to how the system could be managed under several different scenarios.
The report identifies the NFHS’s focus on five priorities for fish and aquatic species propagation, including: recovery of species federally listed as threatened or endangered; restoration of imperiled aquatic species; tribal trust responsibilities; other propagation programs for native species; and other propagation programs for non-native species.
The report can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2013/pdf/NFHSReviewCoverPageandReport.pdf
The appendices can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2013/pdf/NFHSReportAppendices.pdf
source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service