Allegheny National Fish Hatchery Back in Operation

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The Allegheny National Fish Hatchery in Warren, Pennsylvania, is once gain producing lake trout for stocking in the lower Great Lakes. In November, approximately 2,200 juvenile lake trout from a Massachusetts hatechery were relocated to Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. The 5 year old lake trout will mature this fall and become breeding stock for future generations of lake trout raised at the hatchery.

In December, the hatchery received a total of one million lake trout eggs from the State of Vermont’s Salisbury Fish Hatchery, the Sullivan Creek National Fish Hatchery in Michigan, and the Iron River National Fish Hatchery in Wisconsin. The eggs have hatched and the trout fry will be moved to outdoor raceways in spring. These fish will grow for 18 months and the trout “yearlings” will be stocked into lakes Erie and Ontario in May 2013.

All fish were destroyed at the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery in 2005 when lake and brook trout in the hatchery tested positive for infectious pancreatic necrosis (IPN). IPN is a highly contagious and incurable fish virus that can affect trout and salmon species, in some cases causing up to 90 percent mortality in young fish.

The hatchery was thoroughly decontaminated following the discovery of IPN. Tests were done before any fish were released on site in November, and the hatchery is virus-free, according to Miller.

In the process of decontaminating the facility, significant infrastructure problems were discovered that prevented the resumption of fish production at the hatchery. In 2009, the Service received $1.13 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to complete necessary repairs. Additional funds came from the USFWS Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and hatchery maintenance accounts.

Allegheny National Fish Hatchery will raise young lake trout to support recreational fisheries in lakes Ontario and Erie as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The initiative is a partnership of 16 state, provincial and federal agencies working together to address the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes.

From 1974 until 2005, the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery in Warren, Pennsylvania, produced as many as 1.3 million lake trout annually to help restore the populations in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service