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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

 

 May 25, 2004

Contacts: Bill Krise  406-587-9265, x123                                                                        Barb Perkins 303-236-4588 

2004 Bozeman Kids Fishing Derby Cancelled 

The annual Kids Fishing Derby sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Bozeman Fish Technology Center scheduled for Saturday, June 5, 2004, has been cancelled this year due to caution regarding preliminary findings from a agency-wide survey for PCBs in fish.   

However, the public is invited to participate in the Ennis Fishing Derby, which is scheduled for Sunday, June 20, in Lions Park, next to the Madison River.  The event is sponsored by the Ennis National Fish Hatchery and the Ennis Lions Club. More information is available by calling the Ennis National Fish Hatchery at 406-682-4847. 

“Although we understand that many people will be disappointed by the derby cancellation, public safety is our primary concern,” said Bill Krise, Manager of the Bozeman Fish Technology Center.  “The results of the PCB testing are currently being analyzed.  To prevent any potential risk from human consumption, the trout raised at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center will not be available to the public until the fish are deemed safe for consumption.”   

The Kids Fishing Derby has been held annually on the first Saturday in June for 13 years.  The Derby provides free fishing to children 6 years and under and is an invaluable experience and learning opportunity for children in the Bozeman community to become acquainted with fisheries resources and the recreational and food value of fish.  Historically, the event has been very well attended with over 800 children participating in 2003.  

In response to an escalating concern for PCB levels in hatchery and farm-raised salmonids, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gathered trout samples from a number of its facilities within three regions of the country in March of 2004.  In Montana, samples were taken from Ennis National Fish Hatchery and the Bozeman Fish Technology Center.  Preliminary results indicate that the Bozeman Fish Technology Center may have elevated levels of PCBs as compared to EPA Risk-based Consumption Limits, but not compared to FDA consumption standards.  The sample from Ennis National Fish Hatchery did not show any elevated levels.  

At this time, it is unclear as to whether elevated levels of PCBs could be due to: 1) fish feed produced from fish meal collected in polluted ocean waters, 2) a local source on the Technology Center property or in the water, or 3) the sample was contaminated during collection and therefore is not an accurate result.  If through retesting, no PCBs are detected, the Technology Center will resume the Derby next year.  If the elevated levels are found to be real, fish feed and water quality as well as other possible sources on site will be tested, and when identified, immediate action will be taken to address the problem. 

Because the Technology Center is a research facility, no other fish raised on site are distributed for human food.  However, the Technology Center has other important fishery resources on station, including some endangered or sensitive species such as pallid sturgeon and arctic grayling for which PCB levels could be a concern for their healthy development.  The Technology Center will be working with state and federal partners to alleviate any risks to these species from PCBs or other harmful contaminants if they are confirmed. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies. 

- FWS - 

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