The National Fish Hatchery System works to support healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species across the country. Every year we raise and stock over 100 million fish to support the recovery and restoration of imperiled species, recreational fishing, and Tribal subsistence fisheries.

What We Do

Our Projects and Initiatives

National fish hatcheries use aquaculture to raise threatened, endangered, or at-risk species in a safe captive environment for eventual release into a natural setting. This work, along with habitat restoration, and other federal protections, can help boost and support wild populations of fish and aquatic wildlife.  

National Fish Hatcheries: 

  • Improve recreational fishing and public use of aquatic resources.
  • Recover federally listed threatened or endangered species.
  • Restore imperiled species that are not yet listed as endangered.
  • Fulfill tribal partnerships and trust responsibilities.

National Fish Hatchery System Celebrates 150 Years of Conservation! 

June 10th, 2022, marks the 150th anniversary of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Fish Hatchery System! The National Fish Hatchery System was created by Congress to help address collapsing fisheries and boost production of food fish to feed families. Over the years, the system has evolved to meet the changing needs of conservation. Today the National Fish Hatchery System is the only national aquaculture program in existence dedicated entirely to the conservation of aquatic species.  

Latest Stories and Topics

Our Services

Fish Distribution and Stocking

Our work to raise and conserve fish and their habitats enhances the enjoyment of over 55 million recreational anglers every year.  Many states rely on aquaculture to stock lakes and rivers with fish populations for sustainable recreational fisheries that generate million in local revenue.

Our Library

A boy holds a fish in his hands and smiles at the camera. A person next to him holds a fishing rod an bobber.
Did you know that you can be a super-star conservationist just by going fishing? Whether you prefer fly-fishing on a wild and scenic river, noodling for catfish, or dropping a line in an urban waterway, here are some basics to get you started fishing responsibly!
Historic rail carts used for transporting fish
Our conservation roots run deep. In 1871, people recognized that America’s fisheries were in trouble and called on congress to act. The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries was formed on February 9, 1871. Their charge was clear - to determine if America’s fisheries were declining, and if...