Southwestern Native Aquatic Resource
and Recovery Center
Southwest Region

About Us


Traditionally, the spawning season at the Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center kicks-off in late March and ends in early June. The primary techniques the Center employs are induced and natural spawning methods.

Fourteen different species on the endangered and threatened list are spawned at the Center.

Parent fish from these species are reared at the Center for spawning. Each year the Center will spawn over 350 pairs of the broodfish using induced spawning methods. These mating’s will produce over 3.5 million eggs. This count does not include those that will spawn naturally. In the outdoor ponds, substrate is added and temperature and photo period provide spawning ques for the fish. Fish from each spawn are taken and held at the station for future broodstock, maximizing genetic diversity of future parent fish. Different individuals of each species are spawned each year, discouraging spawning of the same fish year after year.

The Centers’ experience in developing appropriate consistent propagation techniques, directly translates to the current distribution of the many species that are and have been reintroduced into their natural habitat. Without this type of intervention the chances of these species becoming extinct would almost be certain.


Currently the Center uses four different methods as fish identification tools. Biologists both in the field and on-site are able to identify fish that are reared at a facility versus those spawned in the wild. The technique serves as a quality assurance tool at the Center to distinguish between year-class and species.

Visible Implant Elastomer (VIE): Colored fluorescent elastomer material is injected into tissue with a hypodermic syringe. The material then cures into a pliable, solid well-defined mark, which fluoresces under blue light.

Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT): Small microchips (about the size of a grain of rice) that are injected into the fishes muscle or body cavity with a hypodermic syringe and read with a hand-held scanner.

Calcien Marking: Immersion fluorescent marker that adheres to all bone structures of the fish. The fins and cranium have shown to absorb the compound the most. When placed under blue light, the marked areas exhibit fluorescence.

Wire Tagging: The Mark IV Tagging device injects a small magnetized wire tag below the scale surface skin in various locations on the fish. Tags are read using a hand-held wand detector, that beeps when a tag is present.

Tagging/Marking sessions are coordinated in advance; volunteers, sister agencies and staff tag/mark over 200,000 endangered & threatened fish per year. Some fish remain on station while others are transported and returned to their natural habitat.

If you require further information on Fish Culture, please contact Fish Biologist William Knight at (575) 734-5910 ext. 152.

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Last updated: November 28, 2017