Midwest Region
Conserving the Nature of America

Mass Marking: The life of fish after they leave our hatcheries

Fishery managers in the Great Lakes annually stock over 30 million salmon and trout to diversify sport fisheries, restore native fish populations, and control invasive fishes. However, little is known about how well these fish survive, contribute to the fisheries, and reproduce in the wild. To address these concerns the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service led a cooperative effort under the request of the Council of Lake Committees of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, to develop a basin-wide program to tag all stocked salmon and trout. This effort will provide greater insight into survival of stocked fish, the contribution of stocked adults to restoration of native fishes, the ability to manage harvest away from wild fish, and the opportunity to evaluate and improve hatchery operations. The mass-marking program uses adipose fin-clips and coded-wire tags to track groups of harvested fish that were stocked from federal and state hatcheries.

Interested in learning more? Watch the above video, or download Great Lakes Fish Tagging and Recovery Lab Enjoys a Busy Second Year, an excerpt from Restoring the Great Lakes: Success Stories from the 2011 Field Season.

Last updated: June 5, 2017