Renovated hatchery Could

Bolster Lake Trout Populations

The Allegheny National Fish Hatchery re-opened in 2012, seven years after a deadly fish virus and infrastructure problems forced the facility to shut down. The renovated facility, which can produce 1 million native lake trout annually, is the only hatchery dedicated to supporting struggling lake trout fisheries in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

Description

From 1974 until 2005, the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery produced as many as 1.3 million lake trout annually for lakes Erie and Ontario. The hatchery was closed and all the fish were destroyed in 2005 after fish there tested positive for a highly contagious and incurable virus. The hatchery was decontaminated but major infrastructure problems were discovered during the decontamination process. Those problems prevented the resumption of fish production, which led to major renovations. During the renovations, lake trout from hatcheries in other states were trucked to lakes Erie and Ontario. Because there are no self-sustaining populations of lake trout in the lower Great Lakes, hatcheries are critical to maintaining the fishery. Improvements at the Allegheny National Fish Hatchery could lead to self-sustaining lake trout populations in lakes Erie and Ontario.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • No hatchery for Lake Trout
  • Low fish populations in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario

ALLEGHENY NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY RENOVATION

The Allegheny National Fish Hatchery sits on the side of a river in Pennsylvania.

The newly renovated Allegheny National Fish Hatchery. Photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Results and Accomplishments

The renovated hatchery will provide a reliable supply of native lake trout for lakes Erie and Ontario and bolster efforts to create self-sustaining lake trout populations in those lakes. The first batch of lake trout reared at the hatchery will be released in the lakes in May 2013.