Salmon & Steelhead Hatcheries

Hatcheries, or artificial propagation, are one tool to help support wild stocks and provide fish for harvest, so long as hatchery fish are managed in the context of our overall goals for threatened or endangered fish. Hatchery intervention can also help avert, at least in the short-term, salmon and steelhead extinction. However, it is important to limit interactions between hatchery and natural-origin fish by using best hatchery practices. Based on the current scientific information, NOAA Fisheries believes that artificial breeding and rearing of salmon and steelhead is likely to result in some degree of genetic change and fitness reduction in hatchery fish and their progeny when they interbreed with fish from natural populations. Hatchery best management practices harmonize conservation goals with the implementation of treaty Indian fishing rights and other applicable laws and policies.