Public Input Requested to Guide the Future of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program

white seabass
Juvenile White Seabass in a pen
HSWRI photo

California Sea Grant recently submitted a final independent scientific evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program (OREHP) to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). The evaluation team concluded that the OREHP has made groundbreaking progress in developing hatchery-rearing and enhancement practices and systems for marine species. However, it has not substantially increased the abundance of White Seabass, with a less than one percent contribution to the wild White Seabass fishery over the last 30 years.

The scientific evaluation team did not conclude whether the program should continue as-is, be modified, or be discontinued. The evaluation does, however, include objective-specific and program-wide recommendations should the program continue with either White Seabass or another marine species, as well as suggestions on how to discontinue the program. While decisions about the future direction of the program are ultimately up to the OREHP Advisory Panel, CDFW, and the California Legislature, the scientific evaluation team recommends a science-based decision making process that includes public participation.

The OREHP has interacted with a variety of stakeholders in Southern California over the past 30 years, including individuals and organizations involved in commercial fishing, sport fishing, K-12 education, research, and environmental conservation. CDFW is interested in gathering input from interested stakeholders on the value, participation, and benefits of the program, as well as input on the future direction of the program.

CDFW welcomes your feedback and input before July 31, 2018, to help inform the future of OREHP. Please contact Ms. Valerie Taylor, OREHP Program Coordinator, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, with your thoughts or comments. Ms. Taylor may be contacted by email or by telephone at (562) 342-7170.

For more information on the OREHP, please visit our website and/or read the Evaluation of the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program report. We look forward to receiving your input.

post by Valerie Taylor, CDFW Environmental Scientist and Kathryn Johnson, CDFW Environmental Scientist