14 Ocean L. Memo 1 (1979)

handle is hein.journals/ocoaslme14 and id is 1 raw text is: 




Ocean  Resources   law Program   * School  of  law  * University   of Oregan   * Eugene  * OR  97403


Ocean Law lmo-


Issue   14


SALMON RANCHING IN OREGON: LEGISLATION

                  AND REGULATIONS


The Legislation


     In 1971, the Oregon legislature passed a law
 which created a new Oregon industry: the ocean
 ranching of salmon. The law allows individuals
 and companies to apply for permits to operate
 their own hatcheries, raise young salmon from
 eggs, and then turn them out into the ocean from
 coastal facilities. The basic concept of ocean
 ranching seems simple and ingenious. The young
 fish are released to graze and fatten in the
 Pacific Ocean, the open range, and then to re-
 turn by instinct to their point of release: the
 salmon rancher's release-and-recapture facility.
 There, some of the returning fish will be sepa-
 rated and used for propagation, as seed stock
 from which the next generation of fish will be
 spawned. The remainder are killed and marketed.

    The 1971 law only authorized permits for chum
salmon hatcheries.  It was amended in 1973 to
allow chinook and coho permits. Most recently,
the 1979 legislature expanded the authorizations
to pink salmon as well. To date, twenty-two per-
mits have been granted for fourteen separate sites
along the Oregon coast. These permits authorize
private hatcheries to release up to 190 million
fish, roughly two and one-half times the number
released from public hatcheries. Due to a cur-
rent shortage of eggs, private hatcheries have
released far fewer fish than their permits allow.

    Most of the fish an ocean rancher releases
will not return. Many will fall prey to larger
aquatic predators, and others to the fishing
effort of sports and commercial fisheries. While
they are at sea, privately-raised salmon, even
those carrying a hatchery mark or tag, are con-
sidered wild animals and are fair game for fisher-
men.  The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
estimates that commercial and recreational fisher-
men will catch four out of every five of the adult
salmon that would otherwise return to the ranch.


Nevertheless, an ocean rancher may receive a viable
investment return if only one to five percent of
his  fish return to the recapture facility.

The Regulations

    Although the basic concept of ocean ranching
 seems simple, the process of actually becoming a
 salmon rancher is more complex. Private salmon
 hatcheries interact with several public resources:
 public stocks of anadromous and resident fish;
 fresh.water streams and groundwater; and estuarine,
 coastal, and ocean resources. Consequently, there
 are a variety of legitimate - though often con-
 fusing - regulations and administrative procedures
 with which a would-be ocean rancher must comply.

    An ocean ranch operation requires permits or
authorization from local zoning boards, the Oregon
departments of Fish and Wildlife, Water Resources,
and Environmental Quality, the state Division of
Lands, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The
ocean ranch may also be affected by regulations of
the federal Environmental Protection Agency, De-
partment of Agriculture, and Food and Drug Admin-
istration.  The balance of this Ocean Law Memo
outlines some of the more important of these regu-
lations.

The Private Salmon Hatchery Permit

    A commercial salmon ranch must have a private
salmon hatchery permit for each species of salmon
it releases.  These permits are under the juris-
diction of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wild-
life and are the most demanding of all the permits
for which an ocean rancher must apply. The Depart-
ment requires a minimum of six months for review
and evaluation, and public hearings are required
by law.


Grant Marine Advisory Program, Corvallis, OR 97331


July   1979


Un Distributed by: OSU Extension Service' Sea

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