News & Views
Washington state hatcheries facing budget cuts
By Mari-Len De Guzman
State-run hatcheries in Washington state are facing budget reductions as the state’s Office of Financial Management announced it is anticipating a $9-billion deficit in revenues over the next three years, according to a report from the Peninsula Daily News.
As a result of projected losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, all state agencies have been asked to cut 15 per cent in their budget allocations from the state’s general fund.
The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife operates 80 hatcheries across Washington, which consume about 25 percent of the department’s budget. Among the projected reductions include: $5.7 million in fisheries and management, reducing crab outreach and lost gear recovery, less funding for lake rehabilitation projects and the loss of at least five game wardens; $5.2 million to salmon and steelhead production including the closure of Reiter Ponds, Tokul Creek, Forks Creek, Nemah, Whitehorse and Mayr Brothers hatcheries, leading to reductions in fish produced for orcas.; and $2.6 million in hatchery grant shortfalls, including the Lower Elwha Klallam Hatchery.
Hatchery repairs would also be cut 32 percent, “increasing the chances of catastrophic failures leading to loss of fish,” and coastal, Puget Sound and Columbia River fisheries would be further reduced, according to the news report.