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Fish Hatcheries

Steven J. Wamback

In 2006, I had the honor and the pleasure of working as a seasonal fisheries biologist for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service; and I would like to share with you some of the exciting and wonderful things I learned about our Nation's fish hatcheries, The National Fish Hatchery System, and the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery.

Fish hatcheries serve a number of important purposes in our society, including but not limited to environmental, ecological, conservational, restorational, recreational, and economic functions.

These are YOUR hatcheries, your tax dollars at work, and... YOUR fish!

The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is operated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of the National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS), which consists of 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 7 Fish Technology Centers, 9 Fish Health Centers, and 64 Wildlife Management Assistance Offices, and the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.

The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Vernal in the northeast corner of the State of Utah near the Colorado border. One of the hatchery's neighbors is Dinosaur National Monument. Backcountry Rangers from the US National Park Service patrol Jones Hole Creek. The hatchery serves as a trailhead and respite for visitors to Dinosaur National Monument as well as fishing access for anglers along Jones Hole Creek.

Hatchery staff are always pleased to guide visitors through the hatchery grounds and facilities as well as to provide water, parking, and rest facilities to our visitors, passing anglers, and weary hikers. Although overnight camping is not permitted on hatchery grounds, information about camping and river use permits for Dinosaur National Monument can be obtained at Dinosaur National Monument Visitors Center near Jenson, Utah or the US National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/dino.

Having driven the 40 miles of scenic, winding, mountain and canyon roads leading down into Jones Hole, one of the first questions that hatchery visitors might ask upon arriving is, "Why is the hatchery located here at such a remote and distant location?" Quite simply, the answer is Water. The unique and fascinating plumbing system at the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is fed by the pure and natural waters of Jones Hole Springs which are the source of Jones Hole Creek and are the hatchery's main water supply.

These springs are capable of delivering up to 15,000 gallons per minute (gpm) of pure spring water to the hatchery at a constant year-round temperature of 54 degrees (54F, 12C). These conditions of water purity, volume, and temperature are ideal for rearing cold water fishes such as trout and other salmonids.

Water is collected from the numerous springs which surround the hatchery grounds by means of a system of perforated collection pipes, gravity fed collection and distribution boxes, and pumped water transmission lines. Water is directed to the tanks and raceways where fish are being reared and is recycled as needed. First-use water is directed into the hatchery buildings for egg hatching and rearing of the smallest and youngest fish in the indoor tanks; while re-use water is directed toward outside raceways and more mature fish.

Final-use water is directed toward the sedimentation ponds where suspended solids are deposited and where wastes are biologically metabolized such that water ultimately re-entering the natural environment is as pure and clear as it was when it entered the hatchery's water system.

Ecosystem alteration due to the construction of numerous hydroelectric dams and reservoirs throughout the American West coupled with the desire of sportsmen and anglers to use and enjoy the natural environment in pursuit of fish and game as well as the greater public emphasis in recent years on the restoration and conservation of natural areas has led to the establishment of wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries to aid our Nation in the achievement of these ecological, conservational, and environmental goals.

Working cooperatively with various Federal, State, and Tribal agencies, Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery serves the American People and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's stated mission by providing fish for the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), Native American reservation waters, and many other water bodies throughout Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Annually, the hatchery produces nearly two million trout and other salmonids weighing in at nearly 200,000 pounds.

In addition to the environmental and ecological benefits afforded by the stocking of these fish, the economic advantages of generating nearly 400,000 "angler days" per year brings $35 million per year and 376 jobs into the local economy by rainbow trout anglers from around the world angling in the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery trout stocking regions of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

 

[Photo]

 

Fish Culture: Biology & Technology

At The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery In Vernal, Utah

 

Steven J. Wamback

 

Introduction

 

            Fish hatcheries serve a number of important purposes in our society, including but not limited to environmental, ecological, conservational, restorational, recreational, and economic functions.  The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is operated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) as part of the National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS), which consists of 70 National Fish Hatcheries, 7 Fish Technology Centers, 9 Fish Health Centers, and 64 Wildlife Management Assistance Offices, and the D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery. 

 

It is the Mission of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, “To work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people”.  Ecosystem alteration due to the construction of numerous hydroelectric dams and reservoirs throughout the American West coupled with the desire of sportsmen and anglers to use and enjoy the natural environment in pursuit of fish and game (Kranich, Keith, and Zollinger, 1994) as well as the greater public emphasis in recent years on the restoration and conservation of natural areas has led to the establishment of wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries to aid our Nation in the achievement of these ecological, conservational, and environmental goals.

 

Working cooperatively with various Federal, State, and Tribal agencies, Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery serves the American People and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s stated mission by providing fish for the Colorado River Storage Project (CRSP), Native American reservation waters, and many other water bodies throughout Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.  Annually, the hatchery produces nearly two million trout and other salmonids weighing in at nearly 200,000 pounds.  In addition to the environmental and ecological benefits afforded by the stocking of these fish, the economic advantages of generating nearly 400,000 “angler days” per year brings $35 million per year and 376 jobs into the local economy by rainbow trout anglers from around the world angling in the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery trout stocking regions of Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming (Caudill, 2005; USFWS 2006).

 

The purpose of this report is several-fold as follows:

 

1.  To provide additional information to the interested general public on the function, setting, history, and operation of the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery and to share some of the more technical aspects of hatchery fish production by answering many of the important questions that hatchery visitors frequently ask and by providing greater detail to those who wish to learn more about the hatchery and fish culture.

 

2.  To serve as a brief introduction and procedures primer for new and aspiring fish culturists, biologic technicians, fisheries students, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service employees, and fish hatchery volunteers.  Appendix A is an outline and checklist of a hatchery fish culture technician’s skills and responsibilities.

 

            For more extensive treatment of any topic presented in this report or for more in-depth information, the reader is referred to the list of publications, contact information, and web links, included in the “References & Bibliography” and “Contact Information & Web Links” sections included below.
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Hatchery Location

 

            The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is located approximately 40 miles northeast of Vernal in the northeast corner of the State of Utah near the Colorado border.

 

and Dinosaur National Monument

 

 

at the base of Diamond Mountain and the Jones Hole Springs,

 

 

. 


One of the hatchery’s neighbors is Dinosaur National Monument.  Backcountry Rangers from the US National Park Service patrol Jones Hole Creek.  The hatchery serves as a trailhead and respite for visitors to Dinosaur National Monument as well as fishing access for anglers along Jones Hole Creek.  Hatchery staff are always pleased to guide visitors through the hatchery grounds and facilities as well as to provide water, parking, and rest facilities to our visitors, passing anglers, and weary hikers.  Although overnight camping is not permitted on hatchery grounds, information about camping and river use permits for Dinosaur National Monument can be obtained at Dinosaur National Monument Visitors Center near Jenson, Utah or the US National Park Service website: http://www.nps.gov/dino. 


 

Hatchery History & Facilities Description

 

            The hatchery was constructed

 

 

 

            The Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery facilities

 

 

 


Jones Hole Springs are the source of Jones Hole Creek and are the Hatchery’s main water supply.

 

Hatchery Hydrology

 

            Having driven the 40 miles of scenic, winding, mountain and canyon roads leading down into Jones Hole, one of the first questions that hatchery visitors might ask upon arriving  is, “Why is the hatchery located here at such a remote and distant location?”

 

            Quite simply, the answer is… Water. (see USFWS kiosk at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery).

 

The unique and fascinating plumbing system at the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery is fed by the pure and natural waters of Jones Hole Springs which are the source of Jones Hole Creek and are the hatchery’s main water supply.  These springs are capable of delivering up to 15,000 gallons per minute (gpm) of pure spring water to the hatchery at a constant year-round temperature of 54 degrees (54F, 12C). These conditions of water purity, volume, and temperature are ideal for rearing cold water fishes such as trout and other salmonids.

 

            Water is collected from the numerous springs which surround the hatchery grounds by means of a system of perforated collection pipes, gravity fed collection and distribution boxes, and pumped water transmission lines.  Water is directed to the tanks and raceways where fish are being reared and is recycled as needed.  First-use water is directed into the hatchery buildings for egg hatching and rearing of the smallest and youngest fish in the indoor tanks; while re-use water is directed toward outside raceways and more mature fish.  Final-use water is directed toward the sedimentation ponds where suspended solids are deposited and where wastes are biologically metabolized such that water ultimately re-entering the natural environment is pure and clear as demonstrated by monthly laboratory analyses.

 

            The waters which emerge from Jones Hole Springs come from deep beneath

 

 

The photo above shows one of the water pumping and aeration stations at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery.  Water falls through the four galvanized spiral columns which are filled with aeration media to reduce natural nitrogen and to increase oxygen concentrations in the water.   The photo below shows a close up view of the aeration medium.  The aeration medium is a packed column of small multiperforate plastic tubes through which water falls to maximize water’s surface area exposure to air and its mixing with air in order to reduce naturally occurring deep spring water nitrogen levels and to increase oxygen concentration in the water for optimal fish growth and health.

 

 

 

Harmon, E.J.  1996.  Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery Water Supply Investigation. Prepared for: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 6.  HRS Water Consultants, Inc.  Lakewood, CO. August 1996.  39 pp.


The photo above shows one of the water pumping and aeration stations at Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery.  Water falls through the four galvanized spiral columns which are filled with aeration media to reduce natural nitrogen and to increase oxygen concentrations in the water.   The photo below shows a close up view of the aeration medium.  The aeration medium is a packed column of small multiperforate plastic tubes through which water falls to maximize water’s surface area exposure to air and its mixing with air in order to reduce naturally occurring deep spring water nitrogen levels and to increase oxygen concentration in the water for optimal fish growth and health.


View of Jones Hole Creek taken downstream facing north and upstream toward the hatchery.  Water leaving the hatchery and returning to Jones Hole Creek must be as clean and pure and free of contaminants and sediments as that entering the hatchery.   Monthly laboratory testing of waters discharged from the hatchery and collected at different discharge points ensures the pure environmental quality of hatchery water returned to the natural ecosystem.

 

Water Quality & Water Testing

 

To enforce compliance with The United States Clean Water Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has charged the individual state governments with instituting and overseeing water quality sampling, monitoring, and discharge pollutant elimination programs, and administrating discharge permits to ensure water quality and to prevent contaminating pollutants from entering the “Waters of The United States”.  Each state has its own program for complying with this Federal mandate.  Each facility discharging anything (even clean water) into The Waters of The United States must apply for and obtain discharge permits according to each state’s water quality monitoring program.  Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs; Form: EPA No. 3320-1) must be filed periodically with the state’s environmental agency according to the terms of the individual discharge permits granted.

 

            In the State of Utah, the Department of Environmental Quality – Division of Water Quality is the lead agency responsible for enforcing United States Clean Water Act regulations.  Utah Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (UPDES) permits are granted to and continued with those facilities who discharge into U.S. waters as long as those entities comply with the conditions of their respective permits, maintain effluent concentrations below the maximum allowable limits, and pay a $500 fee for processing UPDES permit applications.

 

            In its commitment to maintain the highest of water quality standards and to comply with the conditions of its UPDES permit along with other State and Federal regulations, the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery has instituted a monthly discharge water sampling and independent laboratory-testing program.  Each month, composite water samples are collected over the course of a 24-hour period at each of the seven possible water discharge points identified at the hatchery.  When raceways or portions of the hatchery are shut down to water flow (i.e. no water flow in, therefore no water flow out), the “No Discharge” box on the DMR for that point is checked.  The composite water samples are then decanted into appropriate sample containers provided by a licensed independent testing facility and are shipped on ice via overnight courier to the laboratory.  When laboratory reports are returned to the hatchery, the information obtained is used to make water quality decisions at the hatchery and to complete the monthly DMRs which are then submitted to the State of Utah Department of Environmental Quality – Division of Water Quality by the 28th day of each month following water sampling and testing.

 

            Monthly laboratory analyses on hatchery discharge water samples include: Total Suspended Solids (TSS) for each of the up to seven discharge points as well as final clarifier pond discharge pH.  Drinking water samples are tested monthly for total and fecal coliforms.  Annual sampling and laboratory analyses are conducted for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and an annual sample collected during raceway cleaning in the month of May is taken because this represents the “worst case” possible situation for water quality due to maximum fish volume and greatest hatchery production activity at that time.

 

            Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery’s program for constant water quality monitoring and improvement, along with its compliance with other Federal and State regulations, ensures the highest standards for water quality and that water leaving the hatchery and re-entering the natural environment is as pure and as clean as it was upon entering the hatchery’s water system from the Jones Hole Springs.

 


Fish Species And Varieties

 

            The Species of fish

 

Rainbow Trout  (Salmo gairdneri)

 

Kamloops Trout  (Salmo gairdneri ___)    A subspecies of Rainbow trout

 

 

Brook Trout  (Salvelinus fontinalis) 

 Not a true trout, but a Char.   Native of Southern Canada and eastern United States

 

 

Cutthroat Trout  (Salmo clarki)

 

[NEED PHOTO]

 

 

Brown Trout  (Salmo trutta) 

native of Europe

 

Kokanee Salmon  (Oncorhynchus nerka kennerlyi)  A landlocked variety of the Sockeye Salmon

 

[NEED PHOTO]

 

 

Behnke, R.J.  1992.  Native Trout of Western North America.  American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, MD.  275 pp.

 

Robins, C.R. et al., editors.  1991.  Common and Scientific Names of Fishes From the United States and Canada.  Special Publication 20.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD. 

183 pp.

 

Dalrymple, B.  1968.  Sportsman’s Guide To Game Fish: A Field Book of Fresh- And Saltwater Species.  Outdoor Life Books: The World Publishing Company.  New York, NY.  480 pp.

 

 

 


Fish Culture and Hatchery Processes

 

            As lifelong biologist new to fish culture and hatchery fish production

 

 

Hutchins, L.H. and R.C. Nord.  1953.  (Reprinted 1956.)   Fish Cultural Manual.  U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Game Fish and Hatcheries: Region 2.  Albuquerque, NM.  220 pp.

 

Kohler, C.C. and W.A. Hubert, editors. 1993.  Inland Fisheries Management in North America.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  594 pp.

 

Leitritz, E. and R.C. Lewis. 1976.  Trout and Salmon Culture: Hatchery Methods.  Fish Bulletin 164.  State of California Department of Fish and Game.  197 pp.

 

Nickum, M.J., P.M. Mazik, J.G. Nickum, and D.D. MacKinlay, editors.  2004.  Propagated Fish in Resource Management.  Symposium 44.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  644 pp.

 

Rounsefell, G.A. and W.H. Everhart.  1953.  Fishery Science: Its Methods and Applications.  (Fifth Printing 1966).  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  New York, NY.  444 pp.

 

 

Schramm, H.L. and R.G. Piper, editors.  1995.  Uses and Effects of Cultured Fishes in Aquatic Ecosystems.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 15, Albuquerque, NM, March 12-17, 1994.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  608 pp.

 

Wedemeyer, G.A., editor.  2001.  Fish Hatchery Management, Second Edition. American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, Maryland.  733 pp.

 

Fish Psychology & Stress

 

            At a very basic level, fish are subject to and exhibit some of the same psychological phenomena, stimuli, responses, needs, and stresses, as other animals.  These include classical conditioning, learning certain behaviors during critical periods of development, flight-or-fright responses, and the psychosomatic (brain/body) pairing of environmental stresses (both physical and perceived threats) with somatic health.  In general, “a happy fish is a healthy fish”. 

 

 

 

As far as we are able to ascertain, the “happiness” of a fish depends upon the meeting of its basic biological needs such as high quality water within an optimum temperature range, a good balanced diet, sufficient oxygen concentration, favorable population density, and freedom from predation and excessive environmental disturbances.

           

Even though most of these needs are very well taken care of in a hatchery setting by application of established fish culture technology and proven hatchery methods such as scientifically developed food, well-aerated oxygen-rich water within an optimum temperature range, population control, and protection from predators to name just a few, hatchery fish are still subjected on a daily basis to numerous stresses which can affect their health.

 

Fish stresses include the environmental disturbances caused by normal fish hatchery operations such as moving, netting, pumping, crowding, cleaning, water-changing, sampling, counting, tagging, fin-clipping, transporting, and stocking fish; all of which are in effect, physical, psychological, and environmental disturbances --stresses-- which can adversely affect otherwise-healthy fish.  This is evidenced by the increased fish mortality that often occurs at times of particularly high stress or even during the most carefully carried out normal hatchery operations. (Wedemeyer. 2001).

 

It is a fact of life that some fish will die.  Stress is one thing that can kill them.  It is imperative that the fish culturist and fisheries manager remain aware of this fact and the things that she or he can effectively do, or not do, to either exacerbate or reduce these stresses and their effects on the good health of hatchery fish.

 

 

 

The study is reported in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Kihslinger, R.L. & G.A. Nevitt (2003). The Early Rearing Environment and the Development of Phenotype in Steelhead Alevins. Integrative and Comparative Biology. abstract

The early rearing environment plays a critical role in the development and expression of phenotype. This vital role is frequently underestimated in captive rearing or hatchery situations. Hatcheries consistently produce fish that are behaviorally and physiologically different from their wild counterparts. How these differences get established, however, is not known. I am specifically interested in the role the rearing environment plays in directing neural and behavioral development in steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). My dissertation is an integrative study combing both examination of the effect of rearing environment on behavioral and physiological development as well as how this relates to developmental trajectory and adult phenotype.

Name: Rebecca Kihslinger
Major Professor: Gabrielle A. Nevitt
Department: Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior (Div Bio Sci)
Lab Phone: (530) 754-9500
Email: 
rlkihs@ucdavis.edu

 

March 6, 2006, 11:38 PM CT

The Way To A Bigger Brain

A newly hatched trout (Rebecca Kihslinger/UC Davis photo)

Hatchery-reared steelhead trout show increased growth of some parts of the brain when small stones are scattered on the bottom of their tank, as per a new study by scientists at UC Davis. The brains of those young fish were closer to those of salmon reared in the wild, and the fish also showed behavior closer to wild than to hatchery-reared fish.

"There's an obvious difference between the hatchery and the wild fish," said graduate student Rebecca Kihslinger, who carried out the study with Gabrielle Nevitt, professor of neurobiology, physiology and behavior at UC Davis. "A simple change affected brain growth in a large-scale way".

The results could affect the design of hatcheries for breeding fish to restock wild populations, Kihslinger said. The study is reported in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Wild steelhead lay their eggs in gravel nests on the riverbed. After hatching, the fry, called alevins, stay among the gravel and live off their yolk sac until they emerge as free-swimming fry. In hatcheries, the fish are reared in tanks of clean, well-aerated water, but without environmental features or enrichment.

Earlier work by Nevitt's lab at UC Davis and other labs has shown differences between hatchery-reared and wild fish, Kihslinger said. But most studies have looked at older fish, and have not distinguished between the effects of selective breeding for "domesticated" fish and of the environment in which the fish live.........

Fish Anatomy, Health, & Disease

 

Oxygen saturation is……

Oxygen saturation should be at or near 100% and never less than 80% saturation.

The lowest safe level of oxygen concentration for trout is about 5 parts per million and should be higher whenever and as much as possible

(Piper et al., 1982).

 

Hoffman, G.L.  1967.  Parasites of North American Freshwater Fishes.  University of California Press.  Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA.  486 pp.

 

Bergersen, E.P. and B.A. Knopf, editors. 1996.  Proceedings: Whirling Disease Workshop: Where Do We Go From Here?  June 1, 1996.  Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  Fort Collins, CO.  322 pp.

 

Lager, K.F., J.E. Bardach, and R.R. Miller.  1962.  Ichthyology.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  New York, NY.  545 pp.

 

 

Meyer, F.P. and L.A. Barclay, editors.  1990.  Field Manual for the Investigation of Fish Kills.  Resource Publication 177. United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.    Washington, D.C.  120 pp.

 

Nelson, R.C., D.D. Desens, D.E. Lloyd, and J.H. Beitlich.  1984.  Introduction to Fish Health.  U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Washington, D.C.  123 pp.

 

Post, G.  1987.  Textbook of Fish Health.  T.F.H. Publications, Inc.  Neptune City, NJ.  288 pp.

 

Warren, J.W.  1981.  Diseases of Hatchery Fish.  Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3.  Twin Cities, MN.  91 pp.


Fish Eggs, Incubation, & Hatching

A hatchery scientist is using the Von Baher method for determining trout egg density in number per ounce.  From this determination, the number and volume of eggs to be transferred to each hatching jar can be determined.  These calculations are performed quickly while these newly-arrived eggs are being disinfected for ten minutes in an iodine solution. The eggs are then quickly and gently rinsed with several volumes of fresh water and are then distributed to hatching jars.

 

Healthy trout eggs (with very few white unfertilized or dead egg cases) are ready for distribution into hatching jars.  Note the dark eyes of the embryonic trout which appear as dark spots in the orange eggs.  At a water temperature of 54 degrees (54F, 12C), these eggs should hatch in 7-10 days.

Rainbow trout eggs are incubated in hatching jars.  Each jar contains approximately 20,000 eggs.  Continuous first-use fresh water flow from bottom to top ensures good oxygen supply and egg motion which simulates incubation in natural stream environment.

 

Trout fry hatching from eggs in a hatching jar.  Hatching normally takes place within a week to ten days of incubation following receipt of fertilized eggs from a broodstock hatchery.  Timing of incubation is largely dependent upon water temperature.  Orange colored as-of-yet unhatched eggs remain at the bottom of the jar.  When all the eggs have hatched, the sack-fry are transferred to indoor hatchery tanks.

 

“A newly hatched trout”  Rebecca Kihslinger / UC Davis photo. 

With permission from Archives of Animal Science Blog: http://www.biology-blog.com

 

Newly hatched sack-fry remain in tight formation at the bottom of the indoor hatchery tanks for about 10 days until egg sacks are completely absorbed; then the fry “swim up” into the water column.  When 75-80% of fry have swum up, they are ready to begin feeding on finely sifted fry starter food.
Fish Nutrition & Feeding

 

Phillips, A.M., A.V. Tunison, and G.C. Balzers.  1963.  Trout Feeds and Feeding.  Circular 159.  United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.  Washington, D.C.  38 pp.

 

50% Protein is optimal in food for trout fry

40% protein is required for trout fingerlings of 6-9 weeks of age

30% protein in diet is required for mature fish

Carbohydrate requirements are in the 15-25% range

Fat and lipid requirements are in the 15-25% range

Fiber requirements are not more than 10-15%

1800 dietary calories (actually kilocalories) yields one pound of trout

(Piper et al., 1982)

 

This Fish-feeding cart is used to distribute uniformly weighed portions of pelletized fish food to fish in each of the 50 outdoor raceways at the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery.  Weight-tared food buckets are hung from a scale as food descends from the hopper.  Various sizes of fish food can be carried in each of the four hoppers.  A chart on each hopper is marked with the raceway number and the weight of fish food to be distributed in each raceway.

 

 


Fish Size & Population Sampling

 

 

 

 

 

Jensen, G. 1988.  Handbook For Common Calculations in Finfish Aquaculture.  Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.  59 pp.


Fish Banding, Marking, & Clipping

 

Hatchery staff, working together with Native American Ute Nation Tribal Environmental Officials and Colorado River Fisheries Project staff, are fin-clipping fish for release in Bottle Hollow Reservoir on the Ute Nation Reservation as part of a cooperative scientific study to determine the advantages and disadvantages of stocking fish in the Spring versus the Autumn of the year.

 

 


Raceway & Tank Cleaning

 

 

 

Raceway cleaning begins at the top.  The horizontal screen below the head box serves as an aeration device that adds oxygen to the water flowing into the raceway.   Each day, the overnight accumulation of algae and debris must be removed to maximize the aeration potential for the screen.  Clean free-flowing screens at each end of the raceway, along with the daily removal of as much settled waste as possible, ensures the highest of water quality conditions and the healthiest of fish.


The screen at the foot box allows water and debris (algae, fecal matter, unconsumed food particles, and other sediments) to pass from the raceway and away from fish.  The screen and the region behind the screen (the “quiescent zone”) should be thoroughly cleaned each day to remove algae, toxins, and fecal matter.  This allows for improved water flow out of the raceway as well as for the outflow of sediments that have not yet passed the screen.  Algae grow very rapidly and will decrease the flow of fresh aerated water through the raceway.   Furthermore, algae consume oxygen at night, leading to increased fish mortality.

 

Even when time does not permit a thorough daily scrubbing of the entire raceway, it is imperative that screens at each end of the raceway are cleaned each day and that sediments are drained from the quiescent zone area behind the screen to allow maximum water flow and to decrease biological oxygen demand (BOD) of the non-fish portion of the raceway.  This will ensure maximum oxygen availability and fewer toxins (ammonia and bacteria) for the fish; which in turn ensures fewer daily mortalities and much healthier fish.
Fish Loading, Distribution, & Stocking

Fish pump and tank truck with capacity for carrying 4400 pounds of fish for distribution at stocking sites.  The hose at left carries fish from the raceway to the hopper above the truck.  The hopper drops a volume of fish (free of the weight of water) into a truck tank with a known volume of oxygenated water (measured by piezometer tube on each truck tank).  The Laws of Archimedes determine the volume and weight of fish to be deposited into each tank. The hose at the right of photo carries away excess water drained from the fish in the hopper to ensure that only fish mass (and not water) is loaded into each tank.  Fish stress is reduced by performing these operations quickly and having auxiliary oxygen sources, such as aeration stones and compressed oxygen, already functioning in the fish distribution truck tanks (McCraren, Smith, & Millard, 1978).

 

 

 

 

McCraren, J.P., C.E. Smith, and J.L. Millard. 1978.  Manual of Fish Culture: Section G: Fish Transportation.  Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Washington, D.C.  88pp.

 

 

Hatchery staff are using a fish crowder to crowd fish down the raceway for pumping and loading onto distribution trucks for transportation and stocking.  The mesh screen crowder is inserted at the upper end of the raceway and then slowly walked along to crowd fish into the fish pump.  This method also works to concentrate fish when they are being hand netted into the distribution trucks.

This hatchery fish distribution truck is fully loaded and ready to travel to fish stocking sites.  Piezometer gauges on the side of each tank allow hatchery staff to make fish weight, volume, and number determinations for loading fish.  Auxiliary oxygen cylinders are at the rear of the truck and are regulated to maintain 12-14% oxygen concentration in the fish holding tanks during transit.

 

Kokanee salmon fingerlings are released into Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Green River at Flaming Gorge.  2006 was the first time this landlocked variety of Sockeye Salmon was produced at the Jones Hole Hatchery.  Anglers are encouraged to contact the hatchery and report on their Kokanee catches.


Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery Manager and Project Team Leader Richard (Kip) Bottomley points toward the Sheep Creek Region of the Green River at Flaming Gorge 40 miles northeast of the hatchery, where he and the author have just released 50,000 Kokanee salmon.  The Yampa River joins the Green River in Dinosaur National Monument about 15 miles southeast of the hatchery. Ultimately the Green River meets the Colorado River 200 miles further south in Canyonlands National Park near Moab, Utah.  These and several other tributary rivers north of Lake Powell constitute the Upper Colorado River System.

 

The Colorado River System

 

The Colorado River Fishery Project

 

The Colorado River storage project

 

The Colorado River System

 

The Colorado River Fishery Project

 

Endangered species recovery

 

Non-native species removal

 

Hudson, J.M.  2001.  State of Utah Stocking Plan for Endangered Fish Species of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Revised Plan.  Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  Salt Lake City, Utah. 14 pp.

 


Future Insights

 

 

 


 

Sparkling the water, Kokanee salmon fingerlings appear to be jumping for joy after being released into Sheep Creek, a tributary of the Green River and Flaming Gorge Reservoir.  2006 was the first time this landlocked variety of Sockeye Salmon was produced at the hatchery.  Annually, the Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery produces nearly two million trout and other salmonids weighing in at nearly 200,000 pounds, for stocking in the waters of Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado.  Good fish culture methods and sound hatchery management practices ensure these fisheries resources for the present and future benefit of the American People.


Acknowledgements

 

            The author wishes to express a sincere debt of gratitude to these colleagues whose efforts helped to make his USFWS Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery experience in Utah a realized possibility and to those helped to make the preparation of this manuscript both possible and a reality.  Hatchery Manager and Project Team Leader, Richard “Kip” Bottomley of the USFWS, was instrumental in initially proposing this project and in subsequently suggesting additions and changes to the manuscript and for providing the opportunity to work at the hatchery and with hatchery staff during the summer of 2006.  Assistant Hatchery Manager, Steve Severson of the USFWS, provided day to day supervision of hatchery staff and activities while sharing sound technical procedures and biological principles which lead to healthy fish and a successful and productive fish distribution season.  T. Dale Hoover, USFWS Hatchery Maintenance Engineer, was indispensable in sharing his knowledge and technical abilities in maintaining all aspects of hatchery infrastructure, superstructure, and hydraulic maintenance engineering of complex and precise hatchery water levels and water flows.  Shirley Eksund of the USFWS provided highly proficient and thoroughly professional management of administrative responsibilities and paperwork while making the author feel most welcome and comfortable on the USFWS and Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery Team.   The author remains ever respectfully and appreciatively indebted to these colleagues for reviewing and offering suggestions on this manuscript and for making his USFWS experience and this document possible.

 

 

About The Author

           

            Having graduated from The State University of New York College at Fredonia, New York with degrees in both the Geological and Biological Sciences, Steven J. Wamback has worked as a biologist, geologist, and environmental scientist on various projects within the realms of hazardous waste site remediation; wetlands identification, delineation, and mapping; groundwater exploration and protection; natural resource conservation; technical project writing and editing; and public education.  He is looking forward to future projects and opportunities in US Government service and in conserving and protecting natural environmental resources, land, water, wetlands, fish, and wildlife.  Steve finds himself at home with his family in Angola, New York on the shores of Lake Erie and enjoys fossil hunting when time permits.

 

References & Bibliography

 

Behnke, R.J.  1992.  Native Trout of Western North America.  American Fisheries Society. Bethesda, MD.  275 pp.

 

Bergersen, E.P. and B.A. Knopf, editors. 1996.  Proceedings: Whirling Disease Workshop: Where Do We Go From Here?  June 1, 1996.  Colorado Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit.  Fort Collins, CO.  322 pp.

 

Caudill, J.  2005.  The Economic Effects of Rainbow Trout Stocking By Fish and Wildlife Service Hatcheries in FY 2004.  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Division of Economics, Arlington, VA.

(USFWS, 2006.  Summary Publication: Economic Effects of Rainbow Trout Production by The National Fish Hatchery System: Science and Efficiency At Work For You. USFWS. Atlanta, GA. 34 pp.)

 

Dalrymple, B.  1968.  Sportsman’s Guide To Game Fish: A Field Book of Fresh- And Saltwater Species.  Outdoor Life Books: The World Publishing Company.  New York, NY.  480 pp.

 

Harmon, E.J.  1996.  Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery Water Supply Investigation. Prepared for: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 6.  HRS Water Consultants, Inc.  Lakewood, CO. August 1996.  39 pp.

 

Hoffman, G.L.  1967.  Parasites of North American Freshwater Fishes.  University of California Press.  Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA.  486 pp.

 

Hudson, J.M.  2001.  State of Utah Stocking Plan for Endangered Fish Species of the Upper Colorado River Basin: Revised Plan.  Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.  Salt Lake City, Utah. 14 pp.

 

Hutchins, L.H. and R.C. Nord.  1953.  (Reprinted 1956.)   Fish Cultural Manual.  U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Game Fish and Hatcheries: Region 2.  Albuquerque, NM.  220 pp.

 

Jensen, G. 1988.  Handbook For Common Calculations in Finfish Aquaculture.  Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.  59 pp.

 

Kohler, C.C. and W.A. Hubert, editors. 1993.  Inland Fisheries Management in North America.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  594 pp.

 

Kranich, R.S., J.E. Keith and B. Zollinger.  1994.  Attitudes and Preferences Regarding Fisheries Management and Fish Hatcheries Programs in Utah: Licensed Angler and General Public Perspectives.  Institute for Social Science Research on Natural Resources, Utah State University.  Logan, Utah.  72 pp.

 

Lager, K.F., J.E. Bardach, and R.R. Miller.  1962.  Ichthyology.  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  New York, NY.  545 pp.

 

Leitritz, E. and R.C. Lewis. 1976.  Trout and Salmon Culture: Hatchery Methods.  Fish Bulletin 164.  State of California Department of Fish and Game.  197 pp.

 

McCraren, J.P., C.E. Smith, and J.L. Millard. 1978.  Manual of Fish Culture: Section G: Fish Transportation.  Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Washington, D.C.  88pp.

 

Meyer, F.P. and L.A. Barclay, editors.  1990.  Field Manual for the Investigation of Fish Kills.  Resource Publication 177. United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.    Washington, D.C.  120 pp.

 

Nelson, R.C., D.D. Desens, D.E. Lloyd, and J.H. Beitlich.  1984.  Introduction to Fish Health.  U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Washington, D.C.  123 pp.

 

Nickum, M.J., P.M. Mazik, J.G. Nickum, and D.D. MacKinlay, editors.  2004.  Propagated Fish in Resource Management.  Symposium 44.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  644 pp.

 

Phillips, A.M., A.V. Tunison, and G.C. Balzers.  1963.  Trout Feeds and Feeding.  Circular 159.  United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife.  Washington, D.C.  38 pp.

 

Piper, R.G., I.B. McElwain, L.E. Orme, J.P. McCraren, L.G. Fowler, and J.R. Leonard.  1982.  Fish Hatchery Management. (Third printing with corrections, 1986.)  United States Department of the Interior.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, D.C.  517 pp.

 

Post, G.  1987.  Textbook of Fish Health.  T.F.H. Publications, Inc.  Neptune City, NJ.  288 pp.

 

Raver, Duane and USFWS. (CD-ROM). Duane Raver Art: Freshwater Fish Collection.  US Fish & Wildlife Service. National Conservation Training Center. Route 1, Box 186, Shepardstown, WV 25443.  68 images.

 

Robins, C.R. et al., editors.  1991.  Common and Scientific Names of Fishes From the United States and Canada.  Special Publication 20.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  183 pp.

 

Rounsefell, G.A. and W.H. Everhart.  1953.  Fishery Science: Its Methods and Applications.  (Fifth Printing 1966).  John Wiley & Sons, Inc.  New York, NY.  444 pp.

 

Schramm, H.L. and R.G. Piper, editors.  1995.  Uses and Effects of Cultured Fishes in Aquatic Ecosystems.  American Fisheries Society Symposium 15, Albuquerque, NM, March 12-17, 1994.  American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, MD.  608 pp.

 

USFWS, 2006.  Summary Publication: Economic Effects of Rainbow Trout Production By The National Fish Hatchery System: Science and Efficiency At Work For You. USFWS. Atlanta, GA. 34 pp.  After:

Caudill, J.  2005.  The Economic Effects of Rainbow Trout Stocking By Fish and Wildlife Service Hatcheries in FY 2004.  U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Division of Economics, Arlington, VA.

 

USFWS and Duane Raver (CD-ROM). Duane Raver Art: Freshwater Fish Collection.  US Fish & Wildlife Service. National Conservation Training Center. Route 1, Box 186, Shepardstown, WV 25443.  68 images.

 

Warren, J.W.  1981.  Diseases of Hatchery Fish.  Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 3.  Twin Cities, MN.  91 pp.

 Wedemeyer, G.A., editor.  2001.  Fish Hatchery Management, Second Edition. American Fisheries Society.  Bethesda, Maryland.  733 pp.

Contact Information and Web Links

 

Jones Hole National Fish Hatchery

1380 South 2350 West, 

Vernal, Utah 84078-2042

Phone: 435-789-4481  Fax: 435-781-3024

http://www.JonesHole.fws.gov

E-mail: JonesHole@fws.gov

 

Colorado River Fishery Project – Vernal, Utah

1380 South 2350 West

Vernal, Utah 84078-2042

Phone: 435-789-0354

E-mail: VernalFishAndWildlife@fws.gov

 

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW,  Washington, D.C. 20240

Phone: 1-800-334-WILD

http://www.fws.gov

 

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Division of Endangered Species

4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 452

Arlington, VA 22203

http://www.endangered.fws.gov

 

Rainbow Trout Production By The National Fish Hatchery System

http://www.fws.gov/species/rainbowtrout

E-Mail: rainbowtrout@fws.gov

 

Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program

P.O. Box 25486 DFC

Denver, CO 80225

Phone: 303-969-7322  Fax: 303-969-7327

Phone: 303-236-2985  Fax: 303-236-5262

http://www.r6.fws.gov/coloradoriver

http://www.ColoradoRiverRecovery.fws.gov

 

Archives Of Animal Science Blog

http://www.biology-blog.com

 

“The mission of the American Fisheries Society is to improve the conservation and sustainability of fishery resources and aquatic ecosystems by advancing fisheries and aquatic science and promoting the development of fisheries professionals.”

 

American Fisheries Society

5410 Grosvener Lane, Suite 110

Bethesda, Maryland 20814-2199

301-897-8616  Fax: 301-897-8096

http://www.fisheries.org


 

U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service Mission

 

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principle agency through which the Federal Government carries out its responsibilities to conserve, protect, and enhance the Nation’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the people.”

 

 

Equal Opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs and activities of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is available to all individuals regardless of physical or mental ability.  For visitors using TTY, contact the state relay service at 711. For more information or to address accessibility needs, please contact the Hatchery staff at 435-789-4481 or the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Equal Opportunity, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20240.

 

 

The U.S. Fish And Wildlife Service does not endorse, condone, or recommend any specific trade names, products, organizations, or companies mentioned, referred to, or depicted in this report.  Any and all errors of fact or interpretation in this report are the sole responsibility of the author.

 

 

 

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Department of the Interior

1849 C Street, NW,  Washington, D.C. 20240

Phone: 1-800-334-WILD

http://www.fws.gov


Appendix A: Fish Culture Skills and Procedures

Manual and Check List

 

Fish Culture and Hatchery Processes

 

Fish Psychology & Stress

 

Fish Anatomy, Health, & Disease

 

Fish Eggs, Incubation, & Hatching

 

Fish Nutrition & Feeding

 

Fish Size & Population Sampling

 

Fish Banding, Marking, & Clipping

 

Raceway & Tank Cleaning

 

Fish Loading, Distribution, & Stocking

 

Water Quality & Water Testing

Hatchery Facilities Maintenance & Upkeep

 

 

 

 

 

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Fish Psychology & Stress Avoidance:

Keys to Raising Happy Healthy Fish

 

Taking care of live fish and being responsible for the health of living fish, whether in natural ecosystems such as lakes, rivers, and oceans... or in artificial ecosystems such as indoor aquariums (for hobby or exhibit), backyard ponds, fish hatcheries, or fish farms... is a very important and economically significant responsibility in today's world.

 

Just Like agriculture and farmers, aquaculture and aquaculturists have been at work for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese raised carp, goldfish, catfish, and other species. Tilapia has also been fish-farmed for hundreds of years. Whether you are a hobbyist with a few goldfish in a bowl or a fish culturist or a fish farmer responsible for millions of fish to be released into the wild for fishing and angling or to be packaged and sold as food such as farmed catfish and tilapia, you will need to know about fish psychology in order to keep your fish happy, healthy, and alive. These are just a few of the basic principles of fish health and psychology:

 

At a very basic level, fish are subject to and exhibit some of the same psychological phenomena, stimuli, responses, needs, and stresses, as other animals. These include classical conditioning, learning certain behaviors during critical periods of development, flight-or-fright responses, and the psychosomatic (brain/body) pairing of environmental stresses (both physical and perceived threats) with somatic health. In general, "a happy fish is a healthy fish".

 

As far as we are able to ascertain, the "happiness" of a fish depends upon the meeting of its basic biological needs such as high quality water within an optimum temperature range, a good balanced diet, sufficient oxygen concentration, favorable population density, and freedom from predation and excessive environmental disturbances.

 

Even though most of these needs are very well taken care of in a hatchery or aquarium setting by application of established fish culture technology and proven hatchery methods such as scientifically developed food, well-aerated oxygen-rich water within an optimum temperature range, population control, and protection from predators to name just a few, hatchery fish are still subjected on a daily basis to numerous stresses which can affect their health.

 

Fish stresses include the environmental disturbances caused by normal fish hatchery operations such as moving, netting, pumping, crowding, cleaning, water-changing, sampling, counting, tagging, fin-clipping, transporting, and stocking fish; all of which are in effect, physical, psychological, and environmental disturbances -stresses- which can adversely affect otherwise-healthy fish. This is evidenced by the increased fish mortality that often occurs at times of particularly high stress or even during the most carefully carried out normal hatchery operations.

 

It is a fact of life that some fish will die. Stress is one thing that can kill them. It is imperative that the fish culturist, aquarium keeper, and fisheries manager remain aware of this fact and also keep in mind the things that she or he can effectively do, or not do, to either exacerbate or reduce these stresses and their effects on the good health of aquacultural fish and/or natural fish.

 

[This information will be useful to: Aquarists, Pet Owners, Pet Stores, Fish Keepers, Aquarium Keepers, Aquaculturists, Fish Hobbyists, Fishermen, Anglers, Farm Raised Fish Industry, Fish Farmers, Fish Culturists, Fisheries Biologists, Fish Economists, Commercial Fishing, Fishing Boats, Veterinarians, and people who keep, raise, clean, sell, study, or eat fish.]

 

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