Northwest Fisheries Enhancement – NWFE

NWFE is building to contract for existing hatchery operations and management and to build following the proven Alaska Model here in the Northwest.

This article published in the SeattleTimes 8/14/2019 supports our Direction.

Alaska’s nonprofit hatcheries give us hope for Washington’s salmon runs

Imagine living in a state where the sea is overflowing with salmon, ensuring there are more than enough fish and wildlife to survive and thrive in the Northwest.

A state where salmon reproduction is self-sustaining to such a level that it grows the economy, protects taxpayers and revitalizes the environment.

We visited that state recently. It’s our neighbor to the north, Alaska.

In the early 1970s, salmon runs in Alaska were very low, jeopardizing the state’s commercial and recreational fishing industries. Leaders did an in-depth look at what worked and what did not work in Canada, Oregon and Washington. One of the strategies they adopted was to create salmon-enhancement projects. The most successful of those launched numerous nonprofit fish hatcheries, built through a public-private partnership with $100 million in no-interest public loans.

We toured one of those hatcheries — the DIPAC hatchery in Juneau, which produces 137 million fish every year. What we saw painted a picture of possibilities that could exist for Washington.

The survival rate of salmon to adulthood in Alaska — of both native and hatchery fish — is 1 to 10% depending on the year. Assuming a conservative 1% survival means 1.37 million DIPAC salmon return to their homes. The DIPAC hatchery covers all operating costs by selling 30% of each year’s returning fish. That means the remainder — a whopping 950,000 fish — are available annually for commercial, sport and tribal uses. They also are available to killer whales, eagles, bears and all salmon-consuming denizens of Alaska. Those are extra salmon available on top of the natural populations, and this isn’t the only such hatchery.

Those numbers got our attention, as did the fact that Alaska taxpayers haven’t paid for this hatchery since the startup loans were paid off several years ago. There are 29 hatcheries in Alaska. One is tribal. One is federal. Only two are state-run. Twenty-five of the 29 are these incredibly successful nonprofit operations.

Another impressive achievement of the Alaska model: They strive to augment wild stocks — not compete with them. Scientific assessments are made to find freshwater streams pouring into saltwater that  do not have native salmon populations. Remote plants are made at these locations. This ensures that these hatchery fish do not compete with native salmon streams.

The DIPAC hatchery has excellent relations with its Native American neighbors and functions as an outstanding learning center for visiting school kids and surrounding communities. It also serves as a center of tourism in town and generates tax dollars for the public good from visiting tourists from around the world.

A recent Times Op-Ed [“Restoring salmon runs, not politics, will save southern resident killer whales,” July 16, Opinion] criticized hatchery fish as an unsatisfactory food source for orcas and recommended changes be made in other areas. We think that the state, tribes and all who fish can work on this project to take the pressure off the wild stocks that might be favored by orcas.


While we don’t anticipate that Alaska’s hatchery model can be replicated quickly in Washington, we saw that it can be done. This is why we recommend a pilot project to be developed by our state Legislature. Nearly 50 years of sustainable excellence in Alaska shows us how to make nonprofit hatcheries work for Washington.

Government is capable of doing big things when properly motivated and effectively led, and Washington’s private sector certainly has a solid track record when it comes to innovation and production. If the core problem is a lack of fish — well, Alaska did something about that, and so can we, not only for the benefit of the orcas but all others who rely on a robust salmon fishery. Let’s start by learning from our friends to the north.

Northwest Fisheries Enhancement -NWFE has been busy these last few months and year, introducing our directions, building partners, working with CFOs, building projects, building our advisory groups and marketing NWFE.

NWFE Board of Directors traveled to Washington DC for the National Hydro-power association (NHA) annual conference with a presentation and introducing NWFE directions, where we met with managers of Northwest Utilities, US Army Corp of Engineers managers, NHA President and Executive Director, NW Hydro power President and E.D., Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and US Dept of Energy senior managers and more. NWFE was well received and invited for future program management discussions.

I recently presented to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council /NWPCC councilmen and the Fish and Wildlife committee and council chairman introducing NWFE directions, programs and partners as well as introducing them to our partner Riverence’s modern Recirculating Aquaculture System egg rearing facility.

We met with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director, Deputy Director and  state hatchery manager in regards NWFE directions and looking to assist in any needs.

NWFE met with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Director and Commissioners introducing our Directions.

I Met Chris Oliver, NOAA assistant administrator for fisheries and introduced NWFE Directions.

Met with NOAA West Region Director Barry Thom and other introducing NWFE directions and discussions.

I attended NOAA and American Fisheries Society Fish Culture conference.

NWFE met with Washington state Legislation senior Senator and Congressmen in regards future legislation.

More updates to follow soon.

Larry Pryor







Salmon Bring a Better Life to Eastern Washington

In the Northwest, local governments and stakeholders share the responsibility of supporting salmon and habitat recovery. Together, NOAA and the Snake River Salmon Recovery Board are working to improve habitat, restore salmon, and help the local economy. Watch the video below.



Salmon Bring a Better Life to Eastern Washingtondirect link-


NOAA Fisheries Priorities and
Annual Guidance for 2018-  Released 2/07/2018- the first priority is now – • Maximize fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities.

to see full story- click on–NOAA-Priorities-2018

A Message from Chris Oliver      IMG_2970 (1)
Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries
U.S. Department of Commerce | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | National Marine Fisheries Service 1
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
Fresh into my tenure as the newly appointed Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries, I am pleased to
introduce our Fisheries Priorities and Annual Guidance for 2018. While our overall strategic goals have not
changed substantially, the context in which we approach those goals has changed; therefore, those goals and our
associated priorities and anticipated results will reflect a more practical approach to managing our fisheries and
associated marine resources. I am proud to be part of this Administration, which through a series of Executive
Orders and other actions has initiated a comprehensive approach to agency and regulatory reform. We must work
to execute our stewardship mission more efficiently, with an emphasis on streamlining our regulatory processes and
approaching that mission in a more business-minded manner. While we operate under many long-standing, mostly
successful governmental processes, we will proactively seek and take advantage of opportunities for improved
operational excellence and efficiency.
Anchored by my lengthy experience in the North Pacific, my primary goal continues to be the long-term
sustainability of our fisheries, for the benefit of commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishermen, processors,
other support industries, and the coastal communities that depend on those fisheries. We do not want to roll back
any of our successes at ending overfishing, rebuilding fisheries, and conserving protected species, but we do want
to maximize our commercial fisheries production to the extent possible, and provide ample fishing opportunities,
stability, and predictability for our recreational fisheries. As I have stated many times, we can have it both ways, and
we can reinvigorate our efforts to promote and facilitate marine aquaculture production to increase our overall U.S.
seafood production.
NOAA Fisheries enjoys a world-class reputation for our robust science and research capabilities, and successful
management of our marine resources will require a continued adherence to a science-based management
approach. But we have to combine that scientific underpinning with practicality and common sense, in order to be
just as effective while doing so more efficiently.
As we are coming off the recent 40-year anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, I want to congratulate and
thank you for the tremendous job you all have done in 2017. It is also the 45-year mark of the Marine Mammal
Protection Act, and also approaching 45 years for the Endangered Species Act. I eagerly look forward to working
with all of our dedicated employees, and our various management partners, as we continue our successes into
2018. Our three Strategic Goals for 2018, as adjusted to reflect the vision of this Administration, are as follows:
• Maximize fishing opportunities while ensuring the sustainability of fisheries and fishing communities.
• Recover and conserve protected species while supporting responsible fishing and resource development.
• Improve organizational excellence and regulatory efficiency.
Again, please accept my gratitude for a job well done, and my enthusiasm to work with you to continue, and
improve, our successful stewardship mission.

Community Program Aides Salmon To Start Their Trek To Ocean


A unique partnership from a power utility company and a Non-Profit organization are working to make a difference and improve Adult returns of Salmon to the Cowlitz river.

Through a collaborative effort and unique program between Tacoma Power, a small group- Friends of The Cowlitz (FOC) and Washington Department of Fish Wildlife (WDFW) 50,000 Springer Salmon were released and are beginning their trek to theIMG_2787 ocean with the hope of growing to Adults and returning back to the Cowlitz River.

Springer Salmon (named that as they return earlier/ in the spring than other Chinook Salmon) These salmon started life in Tacoma Powers Cowlitz salmon hatchery in Sulkum WA managed by WDFW, their parents were spawned in October, the eggs incubated, they were raised to a fry size, marked (finclipped) as hatchery fish IMG_3053then transported down river about 10 miles by truck by Tacoma Power /wdfw staff at just over 2” in size, to net pens owned and managed by the FOC volunteers where members feed and assist them for the months it takes them to grow to release size until Tacoma Power and WDFW say time to go kids.  Tacoma Power provides the fish, feed, support assistance and monitor fish health. FOC volunteers build, clean and manage the net pens and salmon feeding, monitor their growth and health, if any concerns call for assistance. Tacoma Power/ WDFW personnel assist FOC members with the release. IMG_2797While these are just a small percentage of the fish released by Tacoma Power hatcheries this unique hatchery satellite program helps make a difference.


Tacoma Power Hatchery complex manager Eric Shoblum was onsite to evaluate the releases, “there may be further potential for these types of programs”, said Shoblum, who’s assisting in the hatcheries IMG_3048and regulatory planning process. Shoblum has extensive experience in net pens and acclimation sites in other regions, he’s evaluating the effectiveness and how they might add to the efforts of Tacoma Power to increase adult returns to the Cowlitz River. It gets more complicated in today’s heavily regulated fisheries in reporting and the planning process we go through to NOAA and FERC but these types programs may help and we’d like to support them if they can be accepted by the regulator agencies!

Northwest Fisheries Enhancement –NWFE was also at the release observing the efforts of Tacoma Power and FOC.  Projects like these can be a model for other Community cropped-salmon-fry-chinook1.jpgFisheries Organizations around the Northwest. Acclimation pens, rearing or alternative conservation programs, NWFE portable conservation hatcheries, remote incubator sites all can be done and see results in improved adult fish return of not just hatchery but wild fish born in rivers and this is a great project. Programs like this supported by Public Utilities that have mitigated responsibilities, working  with interested groups and CFOs can help make a difference in Salmon and Steelhead adult returns to a river system said Larry Pryor of NWFE and may decrease rate payer costs. Alternate conservation programs that NWFE and CFOs can manage like this collaborative effort can help make a difference. There are a several types of programs around the NW we’re helping and this is a great example of one, Pryor said!

IMG_3066FOC has been assisting in Net Pen rearing for nearly 20 years, a program began by Don Glasier- president of FOC, IMG_2444 at times as many as 25 net pens along the Cowlitz River with Salmon, Steelhead and Searun Cutthroat Trout, but now just a few pens. In past studies his net pen reared fish have had higher Smolt to Adult Returns (SARs) than the hatchery released fish, he believes due to his and the volunteers attention,  The program success is due to the support of Tacoma Power, WDFW and the many volunteers of Friends of the Cowlitz and their supporters.I Phone 7-21-2015 993

FOC will receive 10,000 searun cutthroat later in the week from TP to be reared and released for their upcoming journey.

NWFE provides project planning, biological, advocacy, funding development support to CFOs to build sustainable, effective programs like this and others around the Northwest.

The Community of the Cowlitz River, fishermen, and those that receive an economic impact of these efforts support CFOs and FOC in membership and donations. You can see more and support at, and

For more info contact:

Northwest Fisheries Enhancement









More NWFE Blogs coming soon!

 Watch this National Geographic presentation Jan 24, 2017 The Salmon Life Cycle- Columbia River and Northwest Salmon, Wild, Hatchery, Dams

Published on  – Your power bill dollars-  ultimately the judgement is on Adult Returns to the Rivers-

Is your money spent well?

We think NWFE can offer better options! Building community programs that work and competitive hatchery management options with better Adult Return results.


NW River Partners- River of money