Realizing that healthy wild and hatchery fish runs are a vital part of each Oregonian’s heritage, the mission of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center (OHRC) is to be an internationally-recognized leader in fisheries science, specializing in defining the mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild salmonids, recommending management strategies to manage those differences while meeting fishery and conservation objectives, and educating Oregonians on the role and performance of hatcheries in supporting and protecting Oregon's native fish and fisheries. The OHRC will foster and support a wide range of research and education projects and provide unique state-of-the-art facilities.
The OHRC is strategically located in the Alsea Basin, surrounded by streams and close to coastal fisheries that offer natural laboratories to study the life cycle and interactions of wild and hatchery fish and their management on a broad “basin-to-landscape” scale. The site also is close to other scientific institutions such as the Hatfield Marine Science Center and Oregon State University. Goals of the OHRC are to:
- Understand mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild fish.
- Determine the process and rate by which wild fish may change in the hatchery environment within and across generations.
- Determine the process, rate and pattern by which hatchery-produced fish adapt to the natural environment at each life history stage.
- Determine the possible genetic and ecological consequences of hatchery fish and their releases on native fish at each life history stage.
- Develop approaches to manage hatchery fish that conserves and protects native fish.
- Determine hatchery breeding, rearing and release practices that allow hatchery-propagated fish to both contribute to fisheries and facilitate the conservation and recovery of naturally produced native fish.
- Identify possible effects, both locally and on a landscape scale, to natural ecosystems associated with different types and levels of hatchery production and identify approaches to manage these effects.
- Identify hatchery practices that may need to be altered in response to changes in the natural environment and other external factors.
- Identify breeding, rearing and release protocols that minimize possible adverse impacts on the natural ecosystem.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of producing hatchery fish, relative to other strategies, as a means to achieve commercial, recreational, conservation and ecological objectives.
- Determine the effects of hatchery operations (for example: flow alteration, effluent water quality, pathogens, migration and spawning distribution, etc.) on native fish, aquatic communities and their habitats.
- Work with ODFW to integrate key findings from research at the OHRC into ODFW fish and hatchery management programs.
Updated Feb. 21, 2014