Fish and Aquatic Conservation
photo holding a lake trout
This adult lake trout started it's life at a national fish hatchery. It was captured in the lower Niagara River near Lake Ontario by the Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, who are monitoring lake trout restoration programs. Photo credit: USFWS

National Fish Hatchery System

The National Fish Hatchery System manages the importation of salmonids into the United States, a process referred to as Title 50 certification. Steps for Importing Salmonids into the United States of America and forms needed for this certification and additional import requirements.

For close to 150 years, the National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS) has worked collaboratively with tribes, states, landowners, partners and stakeholders to promote and maintain healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species. The NFHS consists of (70) National Fish Hatcheries, one Historic National Fish Hatchery, six Fish Health Centers, seven Fish Technology Centers, and the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership Program. The unparalleled conservation efforts of this system not only enhance fishes and their habitats, but also angling opportunities for our Nation’s 58 million recreational anglers and associated economies.

National Fish Hatchery System propagation addresses top priorities such as enhancement of recreational fishing and public use of aquatic resources, recovery of federally-listed threatened or endangered species, restoration of imperiled species, and fulfillment of tribal partnerships and trust responsibilities. Hatcheries work closely with Federal agency partners, like the US Army Corps of Engineers, to mitigate impacts of Federal water projects via reimbursable service agreements. In order to maintain excellence in aquatic conservation to ensure healthy fisheries, Fish and Wildlife Service professionals closely monitor the health, status, and trends of aquatic populations; measure the quantity and quality of important aquatic habitat to support strong fisheries; and limit the outbreak and spread of invasive species and disease-causing pathogens. In Fiscal Year 2019 (69) NFHS facilities, (1) Historical NFH, and (3) other FWS Offices distributed (released and transferred) 240,184,173 juveniles, adults, and eggs of (6) different taxonomic groups, encompassing (112) different species into (46) states.

photo of rainbow trout eggs

Fish Production

The National Fish Hatchery System is spread out all across the country and in this section of the program’s website, you can learn about the different fish the Service produces, the agency’s cutting-edge production methods and the reasons for growing these species.

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Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery stocking fish

Fish Distribution

The Service works with States, Tribes and others to understand the unique ecology of different regions and distribute the type of species needed, whether they are for recreational or conservation purposes. As you can imagine, learning about and using this information and the different variables requires effective organization and management.

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photo of a blind salmander on a rock

Imperiled Species

Through human development and expansion, more aquatic species are becoming impacted to where they need our help, and the National Fish Hatchery facilities provides refuge for endangered species that enables scientists to learn about life requirements and how to improve these species’ chances to live in the wild.

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photo of a Geneticist at work in the laboratory


The basis for fish conservation is applied science, and its offspring, technology, which together drive today’s management practices and enable the Service to work effectively with its partners to meet today’s complex challenges.

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photo of Seneca Creek and Seneca Rocks in the background. Brook trout in Seneca Creek

Fish and Fish Egg Distribution Reports

These publications listed current National Fish Hatcheries, all fish species propagated, and the distribution of eggs, fry, fingerlings, and adults by facilities, by states, by programs.

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aerial view of Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery

Visit a Hatchery

With locations throughout the U.S., chances are, there is a hatchery near you! We invite you to visit us and learn more about our staff and the work they do.

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