Recognizing that wild and hatchery fish runs are a vital part of each Oregonian's heritage, and that hatchery fish play a key role in meeting both fisheries and conservation objectives, the mission of the Oregon Hatchery Research Center (OHRC) is to be an internationally recognized leader in fisheries science, conducting research to define the mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild salmonids, recommending strategies to manage those differences, and educating Oregonians about the benefits, risks, roles and performance of hatcheries in fisheries augmentation and conservation. 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.
- Conduct research that assists in the implementation and advancement of native fish population recovery as well as viable fisheries.
- Educate and train students, fishery biologists, managers and the public on the relationship between hatchery and wild fish, the connection between fish and watershed, estuarine and ocean systems, and the implications for fish management and stewardship.
- Train the next generation of biologists and managers, ODFW and OSU staff through undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education programs and classes at the facility.
- Provide educational facilities and programs for K-12 students.
- Design and manage the facility to provide an environment of passive and active learning for visitors.
- Provide opportunities for educators and others to use the OHRC for meetings, workshops and programs that further public understanding of the relationship between fish and watershed health.
- Help facilitate and coordinate on the ground efforts of groups and individuals that have a key interest in our fisheries and fish management.
- Knowing that our wild and hatchery fish are a vital part of each Oregonians heritage, we will develop critical hatchery science to be used as applied knowledge for creating policy and management goals that strengthen, support and conserve our fish.
- Conduct outreach in the communities impacted by wild fish or hatchery release issues.
- Share research results through both publications and presentations on the local, state and international level.
Updated July 30, 2021