Voice of San Diego’s recent story about the Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program and its state-contracted operator, Hubbs-SeaWorld Research Institute, was mind-boggling in its misrepresentations. A piece that far off target is obviously intended only to create a bad impression and a classic example of, “My mind’s made up, so don’t confuse me with facts.”
As someone who has spent his whole life in the marine fisheries arena and is intimately familiar with the hatchery program and with Hubbs, I need to offer a far more reasoned perspective on a valuable and innovative scientific stock-enhancement program.
Let’s start with a few facts. The Ocean Resources Enhancement and Hatchery Program is one of the nation’s largest marine fish-enhancement research programs. It was launched in 1982 thanks to state legislation written by then-Assemblyman Larry Stirling, as well as private donations.
In 1984, the program’s advisory panel identified white seabass – a severely depleted species in Southern California waters – as a target for assessing the feasibility of long-term replenishment. From the get-go, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has contracted with Hubbs to operate the program.