A Year in the Life of Atlantic Salmon at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery
Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery was established in 1889 to raise and stock juvenile Atlantic salmon for Maine waters. Craig Brook currently supports two Atlantic salmon programs.
As part of the restoration program for the Penobscot River, Craig Brook receives sea-run adult Atlantic salmon trapped from the Penobscot River for use as broodstock. These adults are spawned in the fall of every year and produce up to 3 million eggs. Approximately one million of these eggs are transferred to Green Lake National Fish Hatchery for Penobscot River smolt production. The rest of the eggs are raised at Craig Brook and released as fry.
Craig Brook supports the recovery of six Atlantic salmon populations within the Gulf of Maine Distinct Population Segment that were listed in 2000 as an endangered species. Juvenile Atlantic salmon are captured from the Dennys, East Machias, Machias, Narraguagus, Pleasant and Sheepscot rivers annually and brought to Craig Brook for captive rearing. These juveniles are reared at Craig Brook to sexual maturity and spawned to produce fry that are stocked back into the same river the parents were captured in.
An important component of both programs at Craig Brook is the genetic screening of broodstock. All broodstock, both Penobscot sea-run adults and DPS juveniles, are genetically characterized through DNA analysis to ensure that no undesirable genes are inadvertently introduced into the broodstock population.