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Report Documents Economic Impact of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Hatcheries


October 18, 2001

Elsie Davis, 404/679-7107

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a report documenting the tremendous economic benefits of its Southeastern trout fishery program to area communities.

The report, based on work by economist Jim Caudill of the Fish and Wildlife Service, examined six trout-producing National Fish Hatcheries across the Southeast, and found that each dollar spent by the hatcheries resulted in $109 to $141 in economic benefits to Southern states.

“This study shows that the activities of these hatcheries are having a tremendous positive impact on the economies of communities in and around important fishing areas,” Sam D. Hamilton, the Service’s Southeast Regional Director. “We feel these hatcheries are a win-win situation: the natural resource benefits, as well as local economies.”

The National Fish Hatcheries studied were: Greers Ferry and Norfork National Fish Hatcheries in Arkansas; Dale Hollow and Erwin National Fish Hatcheries in Tennessee; Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Kentucky; and Chattahoochee Forest National Fish Hatchery in Georgia. These hatcheries are called “mitigation hatcheries” because they produce trout at least in part to help mitigate fisheries damaged by federal water projects such as dams.

Together, these hatcheries produce more than 6.8 million trout annually, most of which find their way directly into rivers and reservoirs. Others are distributed as fingerlings to state and Native American hatcheries, while still others are used for research. These trout lead to more than $107 million spent directly on fishing, and another $212 million a year in related spending.

The study traces a host of other economic benefits derived from the hatcheries’ fish, including 2,800 jobs and more than $12 million in state and federal revenue through sales and income taxes, significant in that the six hatcheries have a combined annual budget of only $2.1 million.

These six hatcheries are part of a nationwide system of 70 hatcheries administered by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The National Fish Hatchery system was created in 1871 to provide additional domestic food fish to replace declining native fish populations and celebrates its 130th anniversary this year. Today the hatchery system helps recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act, restores native aquatic populations, and provides fish to benefit Tribes and National Wildlife Refuges in addition to mitigating for fisheries lost as a result of federal water projects.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

Economic Effects of Trout Production by National Fish Hatcheries in the Southeast

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Atlanta, GA 30345

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2001 News Releases

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