Salmon and Steelhead Hatchery and Fishery Authorizations on the West Coast
Mechanisms for authorizing salmon and steelhead hatchery operations and fisheries under the Endangered Species Act.
The ESA provides several mechanisms for authorizing hatchery operations and salmon fisheries. Not all are "permits," though each mechanism requires compliance with section 7 of the ESA. Some Federal actions, such as ESA Section 4(d) authorizations or ESA section 10 permits, may require additional analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The following information describes the various forms of authorization under the ESA.
Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultations
Section 7 of the ESA is one mechanism NOAA Fisheries uses to authorize hatchery and fishing actions that are funded, authorized, or carried out by a federal agency. Under Section 7, NOAA Fisheries can authorize take that is incidental to the operation of a hatchery program or to the conduct of a fishery.
- There are several examples of hatchery actions that are reviewed under Section 7, including the release of non-listed hatchery fish where they may access the habitat of listed species, and the handling of listed fish at hatchery facilities.
- Fishery actions are reviewed under Section 7 when ESA-listed species may be incidentally taken.
Following consultation, NOAA Fisheries issues a biological opinion and an incidental take statement authorizing the incidental take (if appropriate) to the federal agency.
Endangered Species Act Section 10 Permits
If a hatchery operation (federal or non-federal) purposely takes a threatened or endangered species, then NOAA Fisheries can authorize the program under Section 10 of the ESA.
- ESA Section 10(a)(1)(A) allows NOAA Fisheries to issue permits for the purposeful or direct take of listed species, whether listed as threatened or endangered. Direct take is only permissible for scientific purposes or if used to enhance the propagation or survival of listed species. Examples of purposeful or direct take include using listed species for hatchery broodstock and removing hatchery fish when they are included in a listed evolutionarily significant unit/distinct population segment and their take is part of an adult management strategy. When fisheries are used to remove hatchery fish that mix with a listed species and their numbers need to be managed, the fishery can be authorized under Section 10.
- ESA Section 10(a)(1)(B) allows NOAA Fisheries to issue permits for the incidental take of a listed species (by a non-federal agency). Examples include hatchery programs that do not rear or release listed species, but might encounter them during such activities as broodstock collection or monitoring, and fisheries that incidentally take listed species during activities targeting non-listed species.
Issuance of a Section 10(a)(1)(A) or Section 10(a)(1)(B) permit is a federal action that requires consultation under Section 7. As a result, the issuance of either type of Section 10 permit requires that a Section 7 consultation also be completed.
Endangered Species Act Section 4(d) Rules
As provided for in the ESA, NOAA Fisheries identified criteria for fishery and hatchery plans that minimize impacts on listed salmon and steelhead. If these criteria are met, then additional federal protections are not needed and so, under section 4(d) of the ESA, take prohibitions would not apply. This applies to the incidental or direct take of threatened species only. The criteria are identified as “limits.”
For a description of submittal instructions, reporting requirements, NOAA Fisheries' review criteria, and authorization and notification processes, please review the 4(d) Rule Implementation Binder. (For an updated list of contacts, see our Salmon and Steelhead Recovery Points of Contact.)
ESA 4(d) rules are federal actions that trigger consultation under Section 7 of the ESA. As a result, a Section 7 consultation must be completed prior to making a 4(d) determination.
- HGMP Template Instructions (PDF, pages 5) (for an updated list of contacts, see our Hatchery Contacts page)
- HGMP Template (5/2/2019 version, MS Word)
- APR Performance Standards and Indicators (PDF, 20 pages)