The Gulf sturgeon was listed as a threatened species on September 30, 1991. As permitted and identified as a recovery task. Welaka National Fish Hatchery is currently involved with hormonal induced spawning, development of an artificial feeding program. and the refinement of hatchery culture techniques that maximize production.
These projects are identified in the Gulf Sturgeon Recovery/Management Plan and will significantly contribute to the recovery and eventual delisting of this species.
All stocking of hatchery progeny will be under the guidance of the Recovery Plan with respect to disease controls, maintaining genetic diversity, and avoidance of accidental releases into unsuitable waters.
Gulf Coast Striped Bass
The restoration of interjurisdictional fish species is a priority identified by the Director-FWS. The Appalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint(ACF) river system is a major component in the restoration of this species. The System originates in north Georgia as the Flint river, connects to the Chattahoochee river, then forms Lake Seminole. Then becomes the Appalachicola river below Jim Woodruff Dam.
Welaka NFH serves as the major spawning site for adult fish captured in the wild. This broodfish collection is a coordinated effort between Welaka NFH, Panama City Fisheries Resources Office, Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Division, and the Georgia DNR-Fisheries Division.
Fish are spawned at Welaka NFH and the resulting fry are shipped to various facilities for grow-out. Welaka NFH also produces approximately 800,000 fish for stocking into the ACF system for the restoration of this species.
Welaka NFH serves as the major producer of Gulf Coast striped bass. In addition to the hatchery's commitment of 850,000 Phase I fingerlings and 40,000 Phase II fish, this facility is responsible for producing 5,000,000 to 7,000,000 fry for shipment to Federal fish hatcheries in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana as well as several state operated facilities. This hatchery coordinates the shipment of wild broodstock with U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Florida Game and Freshwater Fish Commission, and the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
This facility maintains a small number of largemouth bass (Florida strain) for fingerling stockings on National Wildlife Refuges throughout the Southeast Region as well as for stocking several military bases. These programs are designed to enhance fishing opportunities on those Federal lands that have been identified as having a compatible fishery program with the primary function of the refuge/base.
To aid in these fishing opportunities on Federal lands, Welaka NFH also maintains bluegill and redear sunfish broodstock.