Hatchery & Salmon Fishery Permits

The Endangered Species Act provides several mechanisms for authorizing hatchery operations and salmon fisheries. The following information describes the statute's various forms of authorization.

Section 7 Consultations

Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is the mechanism NOAA Fisheries uses to authorize hatchery and fishing actions that are funded, authorized, or carried out by a federal agency, and that do not include the direct or purposeful "take" of a species protected under the Act. There are several examples of hatchery actions that are reviewed under Section 7, including the release of non-listed hatchery fish where they may access the habitat of listed species and handling listed fish at hatchery facilities. For fishery actions, Section 7 applies when protected species are mixed with other fish and incidentally taken. For example, ocean fisheries for salmon and non-salmon species and fisheries for hatchery fish are reviewed for Section 7 compliance.

Under Section 7, federal agencies shall, in consultation with NOAA Fisheries, ensure that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened or endangered species, or result in the destruction or adverse modification of the species' designated critical habitat. It allows NOAA Fisheries to authorize take that is incidental to the operation of a hatchery program or to the conduct of a fishery. Following consultation, NOAA Fisheries issues a biological opinion and an incidental take statement authorizing the incidental take (if appropriate) to the federal agency.

Section 10 Permits & Related Section 7 Consultations

If a hatchery operation (federal or non-federal) purposely takes a threatened or endangered species, then NOAA Fisheries can use Section 10 to authorize the program. Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act allows NOAA Fisheries to issue permits for the purposeful or direct take of listed species, whether listed as threatened or endangered. Direct take only is permissible for scientific purposes or if used to enhance the propagation or survival of listed species. Examples of purposeful or direct take include using listed species for hatchery broodstock and removing hatchery fish when they are included in a listed evolutionarily significant unit/distinct population segment and their take is part of an adult management strategy. When fisheries are used to remove hatchery fish that mix with a listed species and their numbers need to be managed, then the fishery can be authorized under Section 10. Issuance of a Section 10(a)(1)(A) permit is a federal action that requires consultation under Section 7. As a result, the issuance of a Section 10 permit requires that a section 7 consultation also be completed.

Section 4(d) Rules & Related Section 7 Consultations

NOAA Fisheries identified criteria that minimize impacts on listed species. If these criteria are met, then additional federal protections are not needed. These criteria represent programs or activities for which NOAA Fisheries will not apply the take prohibitions. This applies to the incidental or direct take of threatened species only. The criteria are identified as limits or "exceptions" and several apply to hatchery and fishery actions. For a description of submittal instructions, reporting requirements, NOAA Fisheries' review criteria, and authorization and notification processes, please review the 4(d) Rule Implementation Binder(pdf format 597kb). 4(d) rules are federal actions that trigger consultation under Section 7. As a result, 4(d) determinations cannot be made without a completed Section 7 consultation.