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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes

Cold Water Fish Culture

Region 3, April 12, 2013

Pendills Creek National Fish Hatchery's Biological Science Technician Randy Obermiller recently attended a Cold Water Fish Culture course. The course was held at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) located in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.


Cold Water Fish Culture is an introductory class developed to explore all husbandry activities associated with cold water fish culture. The class explores the entire life cycle of a fish lot in a hatchery setting. The curriculum also includes various techniques, formulas, and calculations used in the day-to-day operations of a hatchery. The class is targeted towards fish biologists, fish culturists, biological science technicians, and aquatic animal husbandry caretakers with less than 5 years work experience in a hatchery. Upon completetion of the class, students can obtain 3 hours of college credit from Shepherd University.

The class included 25 students from around the country employed with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, various state fisheries agencies, and tribal agencies. The instructors were hatchery managers, assistant managers, and fish culture supervisors from U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and state agencies, including the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

In addition to daily class instruction, students conducted hands-on experiments in the lab, including sample counting and egg enumeration. The class also ventured off campus on two class trips. The students visited the Freshwater Institute at nearby Shepherdstown, WV. The institute is a research and development facilty dedicated to sustainable water use and re-use.

Another stop was the National Cool & Cold Water Aquaculture Center (USDA) in Kearneyville, WV. The center researches and solves problems in the fields of Fish Health, Genetics, Physiology, and Genomics. Anders Halverson, author of the book entitled "An Entirely Synthetic Fish" also visited the students' classroom at NCTC giving a lecture with a question and answer session on his book.

Pendills Creek National Fish Hatchery, founded in 1951 is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula near Brimley, MI on Lake Superior. The facility rears yearling lake trout to be released into the Great Lakes as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Program. Hatchery production includes just over 1,000,000 fish released into Lake Michigan each Spring.

Contact Info: Larry Dean, 612-713-5312, Larry_Dean@fws.gov