Duvall nonprofit sues Department of Fish and Wildlife over salmon hatchery policy

Snoqualmie Valley Record

Wild Fish Conservancy, a Duvall-based nonprofit, and The Conservation Angler filed suit against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), alleging that the agency violated the State Environmental Policy Act.

The nearly 200-page lawsuit, filed Oct. 11 in King County Superior Court, is alleging that the WDFW has been ignoring state environmental laws, and avoiding an environmental impact statement, since 2018, when WDFW commissioners significantly increased its production of hatchery salmon.

“The bottom line is we know hatcheries can cause very serious problems for wild salmon,” said Kurt Beardslee, the executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy. “It is required that something of that scale of action go through environmental review. The [WDFW] have been circumventing their requirement to a full environmental review, and that’s the premise of this case.”

Washington has the largest system of salmon hatcheries in the world, raising more than 200 million fish at 140 state, federal and tribal facilities — 87 of which are managed by the WDFW. The hatcheries have been used for decades as a way to recover struggling wild salmon populations.

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