oversight

National Fish Hatcheries: Classification of the Distribution of Fish and Eggs Needs Refinement

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-10-15.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

                 United States General Accounting Office

GAO              Report to the Ranking Minority Member,
                 Committee on Resources, House of
                 Representatives


October 1999
                 NATIONAL FISH
                 HATCHERIES
                 Classification of the
                 Distribution of Fish
                 and Fish Eggs Needs
                 Refinement




GAO/RCED-00-10
          United States
GAO       General Accounting Office
          Washington, D.C. 20548

          Resources, Community, and
          Economic Development Division

          B-283539

          October 15, 1999

          The Honorable George Miller
          Ranking Minority Member, Committee on
            Resources
          House of Representatives

          Dear Mr. Miller:

          Fish hatcheries operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have been
          part of the nation’s network of fish hatcheries for more than 120 years.
          While state and tribal hatcheries play an important role in supplying fish
          for commercial and recreational fishing, federal hatcheries have a unique
          role. This role includes helping to ensure the recovery of species of fish
          that have been listed as threatened or endangered, restoring native fish
          stocks to self-sustaining levels, replacing fisheries lost as a result of
          federal water projects, and supplying fish to Indian tribes and Fish and
          Wildlife Service lands. The performance of federal hatcheries has been a
          matter of some controversy, including such issues as their role in and
          impact on fish recovery and restoration efforts, the health of fish released
          into streams, and the ability of hatchery-raised fish to survive when
          released into the wild.

          To provide the Congress with information to help evaluate the appropriate
          role for federal hatcheries, you asked us to develop a baseline assessment
          of current activities at these facilities, known collectively as the National
          Fish Hatchery System. As agreed with your office, we focused our review
          on the following questions:

      •   What has been the funding level for the National Fish Hatchery System
          since fiscal year 1992, and what impact has this funding level had on its
          operations?
      •   What is the current production level at federal hatcheries; what portion of
          this production goes for recovery and restoration efforts; and what is the
          distribution of total hatchery production into federal, state, and other
          waters?
      •   What are some of the issues related to the health and disease problems at
          these hatcheries that pose problems for introducing their fish into the
          wild?




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                   Appropriations for operating the National Fish Hatchery System dropped
Results in Brief   from about $47 million to $40 million, or 15 percent (in constant 1999
                   dollars), from fiscal years 1992 through 1999, while the Fish and Wildlife
                   Service’s overall budget increased during this period. According to
                   hatchery managers and other Fish and Wildlife Service personnel, these
                   funding declines have resulted in unfilled staff positions and a drop in the
                   distribution of fish and fish eggs. About one-fourth of the positions at
                   federal hatcheries are currently unfilled, and 1998 fish distribution was
                   about 19 percent below 1992 levels. Strategies for dealing with the
                   situation have included transferring some federal hatcheries to states,
                   seeking reimbursement for services provided to states and private entities,
                   deferring maintenance, and relying more on volunteers.

                   In fiscal year 1998, the National Fish Hatchery System distributed about
                   163 million fish, weighing a total of about 5.7 million pounds, and about
                   122 million fish eggs. Our review of the Service’s records showed that its
                   data overstated the extent to which the distribution from federal
                   hatcheries has gone for restoration or recovery efforts. We found that
                   40 percent of the fish and 20 percent of the pounds distributed were used
                   to assist in restoration and recovery efforts, not 80 percent of the fish and
                   56 percent of the pounds as identified by the Service. Moreover, federal
                   hatcheries have assisted in the production of fish for commercial and
                   recreational purposes to a greater extent than the Service indicated. About
                   three-fourths of the fish and half of the fish eggs were distributed to
                   waters under federal jurisdiction, with most of the rest distributed to
                   waters under state jurisdiction.

                   Service officials and other fish health experts agree that much remains to
                   be learned about the interaction of diseases between wild fish and
                   hatchery-raised fish. They said that hatchery fish were not necessarily less
                   healthy than wild fish but were more likely to show outward symptoms of
                   disease—a tendency they attributed to the greater stress hatchery fish
                   experience from changes in water temperature and quality, high
                   population densities of fish, and handling and transporting. When health
                   and disease problems in hatchery fish were encountered, the hatcheries’
                   responses to the situations varied. Officials said many situations were
                   alleviated with antibiotics or by reducing the stressful conditions, but, in
                   some instances, fish or eggs were destroyed to avoid transmitting a
                   problem to other fish. We also identified instances in which fish that may
                   have been diseased had been released. Hatchery officials said the latter
                   course of action had been taken only with the concurrence of state
                   officials and only in situations where a body of water was closed (such as



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             a lake with no outlet) or where the specific disease was already known to
             exist.


             Most public and private hatcheries throughout the United States focus on
Background   producing fish for the primary purposes of commercial use and
             recreational fishing, but the 67 hatcheries in the National Fish Hatchery
             System are supposed to play a different role. According to Service
             officials, while many of the fish produced by federal hatcheries provide
             significant commercial and recreational benefits, these benefits are
             secondary to the primary role of the National System. Since the 1970s, the
             Service has tried to emphasize the restoration and the recovery of
             threatened and endangered species, along with the replacement of
             fisheries lost because of federal water projects. Beginning in 1996, the
             Service established, with input from public stakeholders, the role and the
             responsibilities of the federal hatcheries. In 1998, to better align their
             output with their role and responsibilities, the Service established and
             defined program categories for use in classifying the distribution of their
             fish and fish eggs (see table 1).1 Service officials indicated that they place
             the highest priority on the first two programs—recovering threatened or
             endangered species and restoring other native fish stocks to
             self-sustaining levels.




             1
              The Service has not publicly reported on the distribution of fish and fish eggs from the National
             System since fiscal year 1996. Service officials indicated that a lack of funds and time were the reasons
             behind the failure to publicly report this information for fiscal years 1997 and 1998.



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Table 1: Programs Included in the Activities of Federal Fish Hatcheries
Program                                     Definition                                         Example
Recovery                                     The stocking of native fish to help               In 1973, the Apache trout was listed as
                                             reestablish self-sustaining populations at        endangered under the Endangered Species
                                             levels of abundance and spatial                   Act. The recovery plan called for hatchery
                                             distributions sufficient for delisting            propagation. Actions at the
                                                                                               Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish
                                                                                               Hatchery in Arizona helped bring recovery
                                                                                               to the level that, by 1998, delisting was in
                                                                                               sight.
Restoration                                  The stocking of native fish to help               The paddlefish, one of the largest freshwater
                                             reestablish self-sustaining populations at        fish, has been eliminated from many smaller
                                             levels of abundance and spatial                   rivers and streams in the central United
                                             distributions well above the threshold for        States because of habitat loss. The
                                             delisting or listing                              Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery in
                                                                                               Arkansas, one of several hatcheries involved
                                                                                               in paddlefish restoration, raises paddlefish
                                                                                               until they are about 12 inches long. They are
                                                                                               then stocked into their native habitat.
Mitigation                                   The stocking of nonnative and native fish     Construction of federal dams on the upper
                                             to replace or maintain harvest levels lost as White River in Arkansas lowered water
                                             a result of federal water projects            temperatures; consequently, native bass,
                                                                                           catfish, and sunfish could not survive below
                                                                                           the dams. The Norfork National Fish
                                                                                           Hatchery in Arkansas produces nonnative
                                                                                           trout to stock these colder parts of the river.
                                                                                           Because the trout are not able to reproduce
                                                                                           and achieve self-sustaining populations in
                                                                                           these waters, continued restocking is
                                                                                           necessary.
Fish and Wildlife Service and tribal lands   The stocking of nonnative or native fish to       In Louisiana, the Natchitoches National Fish
                                             enhance harvest, outreach, and                    Hatchery stocks fish into the waters of the
                                             educational activities at national wildlife       Sabine National Wildlife Refuge to create a
                                             refuges (or harvest on tribal lands), but not     recreational fishery. To develop this fishery,
                                             with the intent of reestablishing or              the depth of the refuge’s waters was
                                             maintaining self-sustaining populations           raised and they were stocked with fish
                                                                                               native to Louisiana.
Partnership management                       The stocking of nonnative or native fish to       The Leadville National Fish Hatchery stocks
                                             enhance the harvest, but not with the intent      trout for recreational fishing on federal lands
                                             of reestablishing or maintaining                  in Colorado—mainly military reservations,
                                             self-sustaining populations or mitigating         including the Air Force Academy, Peterson
                                             the adverse effects of federal water              Air Force Base, Pueblo Army Depot, and
                                             projects                                          Fort Carson.

                                             Source: GAO’s analysis of information provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.



                                             The 67 hatcheries in the National System are located in 34 states (see
                                             fig.1). In addition to these federal hatcheries, the Fish and Wildlife Service




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                                                                   operates nine fish health centers and seven fish technology centers. These
                                                                   centers provide technical support and health screenings.



Figure 1: The Location of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional Offices, Fish Hatcheries, Fish Health Centers, and Fish
Technology Centers



          Makah
   Quilcene                   Winthrop
        Quinault
                              Entiat
      Olympia                                                                                                                                                                                  Craig
                 Carson Leavenworth          Creston
  Lower Columbia      Willard                                                                                                                                                                  Brook
       River          Spring Creek
   Abernathy                                                                                                                                                         White River
                                             Bozeman                                                                                   Pendills Creek
                      Warm Springs                                          Garrison                                                                             Pittsford
  Portland Little White                                                     Dam     Valley City                      Hiawatha Forest
     Eagle Creek Salmon                       Ennis                                                         Iron                                                                       Green Lake
                                     Kooskia                                                                River
                                   Dworshak                                                       Twin                                  Jordan River                                     Nashua

     Livingston Stone
                                                         Jackson                                  Cities
                                                                                                                    LaCrosse                               Richard Cronin               North
                                      Hagerman                                           Gavins
              California/Nevada                                                          Point                      Genoa                                                               Attleboro
    Coleman                                                                                                                                                Allegheny
                                                          Saratoga                                                                                                                   Hadley
                                                                                                                                                           Lamar
                    Lahontan                Jones Hole                                                                                                                             Berkshire
                                              Ouray
                                                         Leadville
                                                                      Denver                                                                        White
                                                          Hotchkiss                                                                                 Sulphur
                                                                                                                                                    Sprs.                   Harrison Lake
                                                                                                                                     Wolf Creek
                                                                                                         Neosho                                                  Edenton
                                    Willow Beach                                                                  Norfolk
                                                                     Mora                                                      Dale Hollow Erwin
                                         Pinetop                                                         Mammoth Spring
                                        Alchesay            Albuquerque               Tishomingo         Greers Ferry Private       Chattahoochee Forest      Orangeburg
                                  Williams Creek                   Dexter                                             John                     Atlanta
                                                      Mescalero                                                       Allen
                                                                                                                                             Warm
                                                                                                          Natchitoches                       Springs


                                                                                         Inks Dam
                                                                                            San Marcos                                                  Welaka
                                                                                   Uvalde




      National Fish Hatchery
      Fish Technology Center
      Fish Health Center
      Regional Offices



                                                                   Source: Prepared by GAO from data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.




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                             Disagreements persist about how federal hatcheries should be operated.
                             Matters of controversy include how many federal hatcheries are needed,
                             how they should be funded and operated, and what goals they should try
                             to achieve. In addition, controversies exist about the impact of
                             hatchery-raised fish (such as the transmission of disease and health
                             problems to wild fish stocks), the genetic changes introduced by
                             hatchery-raised fish, and the ability of hatchery-raised fish to survive when
                             released into the wild.


                             During fiscal years 1992 through 1999, funding for federal hatcheries
Agency Officials             decreased. Service officials said this funding decline had left them unable
Linked Declining             to fill many positions and unable to perform needed maintenance at
Funds to Staffing            federal hatcheries, which in some cases, resulted in threatened or
                             endangered fish being lost. As a result of these decreases in funding, fish
Shortages and Drops          and fish egg production also declined during this timeframe. Officials said
in Fish Production           that they have adopted a variety of strategies to obtain additional funding
                             or stretch operating dollars.


The Level of                 While overall funding for the Fish and Wildlife Service has increased from
Appropriations for Federal   fiscal years 1992 through 1999, operating and maintenance funding for the
Hatcheries Has Declined      National Fish Hatchery System, as measured in constant 1999 dollars,2 has
                             declined by about 15 percent. Fiscal year 1992 appropriations were
by 15 Percent                $46.7 million in constant dollars, compared with $39.5 million for fiscal
                             year 1999 (see fig. 2).3 During the same period, total operating
                             appropriations for the Service rose by 34 percent, from $493 million to
                             $661 million, as measured in constant 1999 dollars.4 However, the
                             hatcheries’ share of these appropriations declined from about 9 percent to
                             6 percent. This decline was, in part, the result of the lack of sufficient
                             increases in appropriations to cover the increased costs of operations,
                             maintenance, and construction; administrative streamlining; hatchery
                             closures; and moving priorities for new funding towards other programs.


                             2
                              “Constant 1999 dollars” means that the appropriations from prior years have been adjusted to
                             account for the change in the Consumer Price Index. The amounts reported for fiscal years 1992
                             through 1998 reflect the purchasing power of those dollars in terms of what a dollar could buy in fiscal
                             year 1999. Operations and maintenance funds provide moneys for such things as salaries, utility
                             expenses, routine vehicle and building maintenance, fish food and drugs, and other supplies.
                             3
                              In addition to appropriations for the hatcheries’ operations and maintenance, the Service receives
                             some fisheries-related appropriations under other categories (such as fish and wildlife management),
                             as well as funds for replacing fisheries lost as a result of federal water projects. (See app. I for details
                             on these additional sources of funds).
                             4
                              These amounts exclude research and development funds.



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Figure 2: Operating and Maintenance
Funding for the National Fish Hatchery       50 Dollars in millions
System, Fiscal Years 1992 Through
1999
                                             45



                                             40



                                             35



                                             30



                                              0

                                              1992          1993          1994        1995         1996           1997   1998       1999
                                              Fiscal year

                                                      Constant 1999 dollars



                                             Note: Amounts are in constant 1999 dollars.

                                             Source: GAO’s analysis of data from the Fish and Wildlife Service.




The Federal Hatcheries                       Officials at Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters and at the 13 federal
Have Reported Staffing                       hatcheries we visited said that declining appropriations have resulted in an
Shortages, Maintenance                       inability to fully staff hatchery positions. Nationwide, about 125 positions,
                                             or one-fourth of all the positions at federal hatcheries, were vacant, and,
Shortfalls, and Equipment                    according to agency managers, funds were not available to fill them.
Problems                                     Adequate staffing at fish hatcheries is needed because fish require daily
                                             feeding and tank cleaning, and failure to do this could cause stressful
                                             situations that harm the health of the fish. In addition, the staff must be
                                             available 24 hours a day in case of emergencies, such as pump failures or
                                             interruptions of water supplies, which could jeopardize the entire
                                             production of a hatchery. Vacant positions include hatchery managers,
                                             biologists, geneticists, and maintenance workers. For example:

                                         •   The Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center in New
                                             Mexico, which breeds and raises several of the nation’s most endangered
                                             fish species, does not have three of its allotted staff because the facility
                                             has lacked the necessary operating funds. One of these positions is the
                                             director, a position that has been vacant for more than a year.




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•   At the Leadville National Fish Hatchery in Colorado, the fish biologist
    position has been vacant since February 1994 because of inadequate
    funds. To deal with this shortage and still achieve production and mission
    goals, the hatchery has relied on numerous volunteers during the past 4
    years. However, hatchery staff said turnover among volunteers has been
    high.

    Many of the hatchery managers we spoke with also reported that they
    were unable to maintain or perform preventative maintenance on facilities
    and equipment. According to Service officials, the average federal
    hatchery is 55 years old and has several million dollars in accumulated
    maintenance needs that have been deferred over the years. By their
    estimation, the National System needs about $110 million for
    maintenance.5 By comparison, the National System’s appropriation for
    maintenance was about $7.4 million in fiscal year 1999—or only about
    7 percent of its total needs. Several hatchery managers reported losses of
    fish, some of which were classified as threatened or endangered, because
    of equipment failures or malfunctions. For example:

•   In April 1999, 198 endangered Gila trout died at the Mescalero National
    Fish Hatchery in New Mexico when a seal failed in an older holding tank.
    An official from the Fisheries Resource Office in New Mexico estimated
    that these fish represented 25 percent of the native population in one of
    the two streams where these fish are found. More importantly, he said
    these fish were spawning-age adults that were being used to reintroduce
    this species into Arizona and move towards delisting the species from the
    Endangered Species List. This effort has now been delayed.
•   In December 1998, 700 threatened Gulf of Mexico sturgeon died at the
    Welaka National Fish Hatchery in Florida when an aerator system failed.
    Hatchery staff said a backup system that could have saved the fish was not
    operating because maintenance funds were unavailable to repair it.

    Managers at some facilities said they have been unable to obtain needed
    equipment. According to an official at the Dexter National Fish Hatchery
    and Technology Center, that facility has lacked the funds to purchase
    specialized laboratory equipment needed to propagate and protect
    threatened or endangered fish species. At the Mammoth Spring National
    Fish Hatchery, we observed researchers using benches and chairs for
    makeshift laboratory workspace.


    5
     In addition to deferred maintenance needs, the National System reported a backlog of $168 million for
    construction items. Construction items are funded by a separate budget account and are not part of
    the operations and maintenance funds addressed in this report.



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The Distribution of Fish                    In recent years, the distribution of fish and fish eggs from federal
and Fish Eggs Has                           hatcheries has declined. As table 2 shows, fish distribution declined from
Declined                                    about 204 million fish in fiscal year 1992 to about 164 million fish in fiscal
                                            year 1998, a decrease of 19 percent. In contrast, the number of pounds of
                                            fish distributed decreased by only 6 percent, from about 6 million pounds
                                            in 1992 to about 5.7 million pounds in 1998. The number of eggs
                                            distributed declined from 132 million to about 122 million, a decrease of
                                            8 percent.6 Hatchery managers said one of the reasons for the decline in
                                            the distribution of fish and fish eggs was the lack of money to repair the
                                            fishponds and the facilities used to rear fish. However, while the federal
                                            hatcheries have been distributing fewer fish, the decline in pounds of fish
                                            has been relatively small because many of those fish have been larger.

Table 2: The Distribution of Fish and
Fish Eggs From Federal Hatcheries,                                               Number of fish           Pounds of fish        Number of eggs
Fiscal Years 1992 Through 1998                                                    distributed (in         distributed (in        distributed (in
                                            Fiscal year                              thousands)              thousands)             thousands)
                                            1992                                          203,687                    6,030                 132,329
                                            1993                                          213,529                    6,220                 263,476
                                            1994                                          177,070                    6,120                 151,137
                                            1995                                          168,463                    5,978                 138,800
                                            1996                                          161,491                    5,504                 144,504
                                            1997                                          165,564                    5,500                 112,904
                                            1998                                          164,260                    5,664                 121,540
                                            Source: Fish and Wildlife Service.




The Federal Hatcheries                      Managers have taken some steps, such as the following, to cope with
Have Taken Measures to                      decreasing funds.
Cope With Declining
                                        •   Transferring federal hatcheries to states: During fiscal years 1996 through
Budgets                                     1997, the Fish and Wildlife Service transferred six hatcheries to
                                            states—one each in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South
                                            Carolina, and West Virginia.
                                        •   Seeking additional funding from nonfederal sources: Some facilities have
                                            received funds from states or other entities. For example, the federal
                                            hatcheries in Colorado and Montana have received partial compensation


                                            6
                                             Some federal hatcheries maintain desired strains of mature, spawning-age fish that produce eggs that
                                            are used to meet the production needs of the National System. These “broodstock” hatcheries
                                            provide eggs to other federal hatcheries and to state hatcheries, other federal agencies, and
                                            universities to support restoration efforts, help meet mitigation responsibilities, promote research and
                                            technological development, and help provide recreational fishing opportunities.



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                               for raising rainbow trout for state waters. The Warm Springs Fish Health
                               Laboratory in Georgia has charged commercial producers that want to
                               ship sterile grass carp to other parts of the country for the laboratory’s
                               inspection and certification services.
                           •   Seeking alternatives to contracting: Some federal hatcheries and fish
                               centers are using in-house staff or other resources to build or maintain
                               projects that otherwise would have been done by contract. In-house staff
                               at Colorado’s Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery built a mesh enclosure to
                               protect its fish from herons and other predators. According to the
                               hatchery manager, the total project cost $42,000, compared to a contract’s
                               estimate of $90,000 to $110,000. The Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery
                               in Georgia used electricians and bulldozer operators from the National
                               Guard to install electrical wiring and reshape its fishponds.


                               Our review of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s distribution records found
Most Distributions             that they gave an incorrect picture of the degree to which federal
From Federal                   hatcheries have been focusing on the Service’s recovery and restoration
Hatcheries Have                programs. According to the Service, most of the fish and fish eggs
                               distributed by its hatcheries had been used in these two programs.
Benefited                      However, we found that more than half of the distribution that the Service
Recreational and               had classified as related to these programs did not meet their definitions.
                               While most of the fish and fish eggs had been distributed to waters that are
Commercial Fisheries           under federal jurisdiction, they actually benefited recreational and
                               commercial fisheries. Inasmuch as Fish and Wildlife Service managers
                               have indicated that the priority for federal hatcheries should be recovering
                               threatened or endangered species or restoring other imperiled fish to
                               self-sustaining populations, most of their distributions were of nonnative,
                               nonimperiled, or nonsustainable native fish, which have benefited
                               commercial and recreational fisheries.


Fewer Fish and Fish Eggs       In fiscal year 1998, the last year for which complete information was
Should Have Been               available, federal hatcheries distributed about 163 million fish, weighing a
Classified as Used for         total of about 5.7 million pounds, and about 122 million fish eggs.7 The
                               Service’s data indicated that about 80 percent of the fish, representing
Restoration and Recovery       about 56 percent of the pounds, and 29 percent of the fish eggs were for
                               restoration or recovery projects. However, when we examined the various
                               uses more closely and compared them with the definitions for the various
                               programs, we found that only 38 percent of the fish, representing about

                               7
                                This amount of fish is more than 1.6 million (about 1 percent) less than the amount identified by the
                               Service and included in table 2. We found that this amount of 1.6 million should have been excluded
                               because of such reasons as double counting.



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                                              20 percent of the pounds, and 23 percent of the fish eggs should have been
                                              classified as having gone for restoration or recovery efforts. Figure 3
                                              compares the distribution of hatchery fish according to the Service’s
                                              records with our adjustments to more accurately reflect the Service’s
                                              definitions.8


Figure 3: Initial and Reclassified Fish
Distribution, Fiscal Year 1998                             Distribution as                     Program                    Distribution
                                                      indicated by the Fish and                category                  as reclassified
                                                          Wildlife Service's                                                 by GAO
                                                                 data


                                                                                         3%                2%
                                                                                              Recovery
                                                                                        77%
                                                                                              Restoration 36%

                                                                                         9%
                                                                                              Mitigation 43%


                                                                                        11%                18%
                                                                                            Tribal Lands,
                                                                                          Fish and Wildlife
                                                                                          Service's Lands,
                                                                                          and Partnership
                                                                                           Management

                                                                                                           1%
                                                                                                Other




                                              Source: GAO’s analysis of data from the Fish and Wildlife Service.




                                              According to the Service’s program definitions, for a usage to be classified
                                              as restoration or recovery, it must involve an attempt to achieve a
                                              self-sustaining population of a native fish that is threatened, endangered,
                                              or otherwise imperiled in some way. We found several instances in which
                                              hatcheries had classified distribution as recovery or restoration even
                                              though the fish were nonnative, were not imperiled, or were not being
                                              used for the purpose of developing a self-sustaining population. For
                                              example:

                                          •   The Mescalero National Fish Hatchery in New Mexico had classified the
                                              distribution of more than 37,000 rainbow trout (a common nonnative
                                              species) as recovery because these fish had been sent to the Dexter

                                              8
                                               See app. II for additional information on fish and fish egg distribution by program category and major
                                              species of fish produced in each region of the Service.



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    National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center, where they had been used
    as food for the endangered Colorado pikeminnow. Similarly, the
    Orangeburg National Fish Hatchery in South Carolina had classified the
    distribution of 1.2 million bluegill (a common species) under the recovery
    program because the fish had been stocked into waters at national wildlife
    refuges as food for endangered wood storks.
•   The Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery in Louisiana classified the
    distribution of nearly 1 million bluegill, channel catfish, and largemouth
    bass (all common species) as restoration because they were stocked into
    waters at a national wildlife refuge in Louisiana in order to establish a
    recreational fishery. Although these fish are native to Louisiana, they are
    not threatened, endangered, or imperiled and had not previously inhabited
    the waters where they were stocked.
•   The Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery along the Washington side
    of the Columbia River classified the distribution of more than 3 million fall
    and spring chinook salmon as restoration. Despite being native to the area,
    the fish could never establish self-sustaining populations because a dam
    had obliterated their natural spawning habitat.
•   The Fish and Wildlife Service classified the distribution of the threatened
    Apache Trout at the Alchesay-Williams Creek National Fish Hatchery as
    recovery. However, the hatchery’s manager told us that its trout
    production was no longer used for the recovery program but was being
    used to supplement the recreational fishery on the Apache Indian
    reservation.
•   The Garrison Dam National Fish Hatchery in North Dakota classified the
    distribution of over 7.2 million black crappie, northern pike, small mouth
    bass, and walleye as restoration when, in fact, these fish had been used to
    offset the impact of dam construction and other federal water projects in
    the area. Although these fish are native to the area, they are not
    threatened, endangered, or imperiled.

    Our findings should not be interpreted to mean that federal hatcheries
    have been doing things they are not authorized to do—only that the Fish
    and Wildlife Service has not been providing an accurate picture of how the
    activities at those hatcheries have been aligned with its priorities. Nearly
    all of the differences in classification involved fish and eggs classified as
    being used for recovery and restoration purposes when they had actually
    been used to mitigate the effects of federal water projects. Mitigation, like
    most purposes other than recovery or restoration, is the stocking of native
    or nonnative fish to maintain or replace harvest levels lost as a result of
    federal water projects and often involves stocking bodies of water that
    have little or no spawning habitat to support self-sustaining populations.



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                              The fish—often nonnative species—are either stocked at a catchable size
                              (called “put and take”) or are stocked and allowed to grow until they are
                              of catchable size (called “put, grow, and take”). For example:

                          •   The rainbow trout, which has been introduced throughout the country, is
                              native only to the rivers and streams of the Pacific Coast and Pacific
                              Northwest. When this fish species has been stocked into reservoirs and
                              rivers in other parts of the country, there has been little or no
                              reproduction because of the lack of suitable habitat. In fiscal year 1998,
                              rainbow trout accounted for most of the “put and take” stocking,
                              representing almost 40 percent of the total pounds of fish produced at
                              federal hatcheries.
                          •   Some species, such as lake trout, northern pike, bass, and channel catfish,
                              have been stocked into nonnative waters and have successfully
                              reproduced. All of these fish are game fish that are sought after as
                              recreational fish. At times, these fish have threatened the survival of native
                              species because of their reproduction and predatory natures. According to
                              Service officials, in recent years, the stocking of nonnative fish has been
                              done much more cautiously.
                          •   Some species, such as the salmon species native to the Pacific Northwest,
                              have been stocked in their native waters to replace or maintain harvest
                              levels lost as a result of federal water projects. Although millions of these
                              fish have been stocked into native waters, self-sustaining populations are
                              not possible because of numerous factors, including a lack of sufficient
                              spawning habitat, predation by nonnative fishes, and impacts from human
                              activities, which have prevented many of these fish from reaching maturity
                              and returning to reproduce in self-sustaining numbers.

                              Classifying these uses as recovery or restoration, rather than as mitigation
                              or some other more appropriate category, does not provide an accurate
                              picture of what federal hatcheries have been doing.9


Most Fish and Fish Eggs       In fiscal year 1998, most of the fish and fish eggs distributed from federal
Have Been Placed in           hatcheries were placed in waters under the jurisdiction of the federal
Waters Under Federal          government (see table 3). These waters include those on federally owned
                              lands and those that cross governmental boundaries (such as the
Jurisdiction                  Columbia River, the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River). That year,
                              75 percent of the fish from federal hatcheries and 53 percent of their fish
                              eggs were distributed to waters under federal jurisdiction. Waters under

                              9
                               See app. III for a listing of fish and fish egg distribution, by Service region, for the recovery and
                              restoration programs.



                              Page 13                                                    GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
                                            B-283539




                                            state jurisdiction received the next largest portion, with smaller numbers
                                            going to tribal and local governments.

Table 3: The Distribution of Fish and
Fish Eggs by Entity Controlling the         Program and product                    Amount (in thousands)                     Percentage
Waters, Fiscal Year 1998                    Federal government
                                              Fish                                                   122,663                          75
                                              Pounds of fish                                            4,480                         79
                                              Fish eggs                                                64,721                         53
                                            State government
                                              Fish                                                     31,883                         20
                                              Pounds of fish                                              629                         11
                                              Fish eggs                                                52,875                         44
                                            Local government
                                              Fish                                                        989                          1
                                              Pounds of fish                                                21                        0.4
                                              Fish eggs                                                   432                         0.4
                                            Tribal government
                                              Fish                                                      6,611                          4
                                              Pounds of fish                                              518                          9
                                              Fish eggs                                                 2,866                          2
                                            Other
                                              Fish                                                        504                         0.3
                                              Pounds of fish                                                 6                        0.1
                                              Fish eggs                                                   646                         0.5
                                            Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.




                                            Officials from the Service and from science and industry groups that deal
Managers Say Health                         with fisheries acknowledged that most of what is known about fish
and Disease Problems                        diseases and how to control them has been learned from hatchery
From Hatchery Fish                          operations but that there is still much to learn about the interaction
                                            between hatchery production and natural ecosystems. In general, the
Can Be Minimized                            officials from the federal hatcheries and health centers that we spoke with
                                            made the following points about the health and disease problems in
                                            hatchery fish:

                                        •   Hatchery fish are subject to stresses that can promote the manifestation of
                                            health and disease problems. Similar health and disease problems affect
                                            both wild and hatchery fish, but hatchery fish face stresses that cause



                                            Page 14                                               GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
    B-283539




    these problems to more readily manifest themselves.10 These stresses
    include being reared in high populations densities, being subjected to
    fluctuations in water temperature and quality, and having to undergo
    human handling and transporting to the site where they will be released.
•   Most health and disease problems can be minimized by reducing fish
    population densities and other stresses or by using antibiotics. Hatchery
    managers said they reduce the number of fish being reared and the
    changes in water quality or temperature to minimize most of the health
    and disease problems found there. These practices help reduce the need to
    use antibiotics, which are used primarily for internal bacterial infections.
•   Survey efforts are under way to determine the distribution of certain
    diseases among wild fish and develop health information on interactions
    between wild and hatchery fish. In 1997, the Service started the National
    Wild Fish Health Survey. This effort began when an outbreak of “whirling
    disease” depleted wild trout stocks in the Rocky Mountains.11 In fiscal
    year 1998, the Service spent $1.8 million investigating the whirling disease
    parasite, expanding the survey to gather additional information on the
    prevalence of various fish pathogens, and developing a database to
    examine relationships among fish diseases and various features of water
    quality and fish habitat. This survey included an analysis of more than
    13,000 fish from 422 sites in 38 states.
•   When unexpected health or disease problems occur, fish and fish eggs
    have sometimes been destroyed to prevent the problems from being
    transmitted to other fish. In 1988 a viral disease was identified in salmon
    stocks at the Makah National Fish Hatchery in Washington. Because the
    virus may have been imported from Europe, all of the fish at that hatchery
    were destroyed. At the Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery in
    Washington, salmon that return to the hatchery to spawn are tested for
    bacterial kidney disease, and according to the hatchery manager, the eggs
    of those fish with a high exposure to the disease are destroyed.
•   When fish that may be diseased are introduced into the wild, it is
    according to state regulations. In 1994, the pathogen for whirling disease
    was found in the waters and the fish at the Leadville National Fish
    Hatchery in Colorado. With the concurrence of state fish and game
    officials and in accordance with state regulations for controlling that




    10
     App. IV provides more information on several diseases found in federal hatcheries in the National
    System.
    11
     Whirling disease is a parasitic infection that attacks cartilage in trout and salmon, causing
    deformities. Infected fish display a distinctive rapid whirling, or swimming in circles. The disease can
    be fatal to very young fish, and there is no known cure.



    Page 15                                                  GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
                  B-283539




                  disease, fish from this hatchery were stocked in streams in which whirling
                  disease already existed or in restricted bodies of water.12


                  Over the past 8 years, operating and maintenance appropriations for the
Conclusions       National Fish Hatchery System have decreased. According to Fish and
                  Wildlife Service officials and hatchery managers, this decline has been the
                  principal reason for not being able to fill positions, maintain production,
                  and keep facilities properly maintained. Deciding what course of action to
                  take in the face of such shortages requires, among other things, a clear
                  understanding of the role and responsibilities of federal hatcheries.
                  However, information on how federal hatcheries have been supporting the
                  Service’s programs through the distribution of fish and fish eggs has not
                  been reliable. Although the Service classified most of this distribution as
                  being focused on recovering threatened or endangered species or
                  restoring other imperiled fish to self-sustainability, in reality, the principal
                  focus has been the distribution of nonnative, nonimperiled, or
                  nonsustainable native fish to maintain or enhance commercial and
                  recreational fisheries. The overstatement of fish and fish egg distribution
                  associated with the recovery and restoration programs has understated
                  the hatcheries’ activities that have principally been used to benefit
                  commercial and recreational fisheries. The Service’s classification of
                  distribution does not provide a clear picture of the unique role that federal
                  hatcheries are supposed to fill.


                  To provide the Congress with the information needed to evaluate the
Recommendation    appropriate role of the National Fish Hatchery System, we recommend
                  that the Secretary of the Interior direct the Director of the Fish and
                  Wildlife Service to take steps to refine the classification system for fish
                  and fish egg distribution and help ensure that hatchery managers
                  appropriately classify all fish and fish egg distribution by its principal
                  purpose.


                  We provided a copy of this report to the Department of the Interior for
Agency Comments   review and comment. The agency agreed with our findings and
                  recommendation. It also stated that reputable hatchery managers and
                  scientists continue to disagree about such terms as recovery, restoration,

                  12
                   Restricted bodies of water are waters where fish infected with whirling disease may be stocked
                  without a significant threat of spreading the parasite. For example, a reservoir on the eastern plains of
                  Colorado would be considered a restricted body of water because it does not feed into other bodies of
                  water with native wild trout populations.



                  Page 16                                                  GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
B-283539




and mitigation. The agency said that it is committed to describing its
hatchery distribution programs in a manner that accurately addresses the
concerns of those seeking information and that, in January 1999, it began
to investigate methods for doing so. It also provided comments on the
factual content of the report, and we made changes as appropriate. The
agency’s comments are included as appendix VI.


Our work included analyses of budget, financial, and distribution data. We
obtained this information from Fish and Wildlife Service headquarters and,
where necessary, from four of the six regional offices (Albuquerque,
Atlanta, Denver, and Portland) that have hatcheries. To more closely
assess the effects of current funding levels, we visited 13 of the 67 federal
fish hatcheries, 3 of the 9 fish health centers, and 4 of the 7 fish technology
centers. Appendix V lists the specific facilities that we visited.

To identify funding trends, we analyzed financial data and reports for
fiscal years 1992 through 1999, which were obtained from the Service’s
headquarters and the four regional offices we visited. We also reviewed
annual reports for fiscal years 1994 through 1998 and other pertinent
financial data for the hatcheries we visited. In addition, we interviewed
officials at the Service’s headquarters, regional offices, hatcheries, fish
technology centers, and fish health centers to obtain their opinions of
funding needs and impacts.

To describe fish and fish egg distribution for fiscal year 1998, the Service
provided us with its fiscal year 1998 fish and fish egg distribution database
and the program definitions used to classify this information. We then
took the data on distribution related to recovery and restoration programs
and asked the management at all the hatcheries that had these two
programs to explain the end use of each fish species they had classified as
used for them. We used their responses to our questions about the end
uses and the Service’s definitions of these programs to more accurately
reclassify the distribution to other program categories. We then showed
the results of our analyses to headquarters officials for their judgments on
our recategorizing of the data and made changes as necessary. We used
data from the Service’s automated database to determine the destination
of fish and fish egg distribution.

To describe fish health and disease problems at federal hatcheries, we
spoke with Service officials and collected data from officials at fish health




Page 17                                   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
B-283539




centers and hatcheries. We did not address the issue of possible genetic
changes among hatchery-raised fish.

We performed our work from April 1999 through September 1999 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 7 days from the
date of this letter. At that time, we will send copies to interested
congressional committees. We are providing copies of this report to the
Honorable Bruce Babbitt, Secretary of Interior, and to the Honorable
Jamie Rappaport Clark, Director, Fish and Wildlife Service. We will also
make copies available to others on request.

If you or your staff have any questions, please call me at (206) 287-4810.
Major contributors to this report were Alan Dominicci, Kelley Layman, and
Bill Temmler.

Sincerely yours,




James K. Meissner
Associate Director,
Energy, Resources, and Science Issues




Page 18                                   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Page 19   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Contents



Letter                                                                  1


Appendix I                                                             22

Funding for the
National Fish
Hatchery System
Appendix II                                                            24

Comparison of Fish
and Wildlife Service’s
Data on the Total
Distribution of Fish
and Fish Eggs With
GAO’s Recalculations,
Fiscal Year 1998
Appendix III                                                           27

Fish and Fish Egg
Distribution Under
the Recovery and
Restoration Programs,
by Fish and Wildlife
Service Region, Fiscal
Year 1998
Appendix IV                                                            28

Diseases Found in
Some National Fish
Hatcheries, Treatment
Options, and
Disposition of Fish


                         Page 20   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
                         Contents




Appendix V                                                                                            29

Federal Facilities GAO
Visited
Appendix VI                                                                                           30

Comments From the
Department of the
Interior
Tables                   Table 1: Programs Included in the Activities of Federal Fish                  4
                           Hatcheries
                         Table 2: The Distribution of Fish and Fish Eggs From Federal                  9
                           Hatcheries, Fiscal Years 1992 Through 1998
                         Table 3: The Distribution of Fish and Fish Eggs by Entity                    14
                           Controlling the Waters, Fiscal Year 1998
                         Table I.1: Fisheries-Related Appropriations, Fiscal Years 1992               23
                           Through 1999
                         Table II.2: Top Five Fish Distributed by Each Region According               25
                           to Their Amount and Weight, Fiscal Year 1998

Figures                  Figure 1: The Location of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Regional            5
                           Offices, Fish Hatcheries, Fish Health Centers, and Fish
                           Technology Centers
                         Figure 2: Operating and Maintenance Funding for the National                  7
                           Fish Hatchery System, Fiscal Years 1992 Through 1999
                         Figure 3: Initial and Reclassified Fish Distribution, Fiscal Year            11
                           1998




                         Page 21                                  GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix I

Funding for the National Fish Hatchery
System

               This appendix presents additional information about the amounts of
               money available to fund hatchery operations and hatchery-related
               activities within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Table I.1 shows how
               funds for these activities are organized: hatchery operations and
               maintenance, the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan, and fish and
               wildlife management. The Lower Snake River Compensation Plan is a
               program to replace sport fisheries in Washington and Idaho that were lost
               by the construction and the operation of federal dams on the lower 150
               miles of the Snake River. Only about $1 million, or about 9 percent, of this
               appropriation goes to federal hatcheries, and this amount goes to three
               facilities in Idaho—the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, the Dworshak
               Fish Health Center, and the Hagerman National Fish Hatchery. Most of the
               remaining funds go to other federal hatcheries in Idaho, Oregon, and
               Washington, which are owned by the Service but are operated by states
               and tribes under agreements with it.

               The Service’s appropriations for fish and wildlife management are spent,
               among other things, for the management of interjurisdictional fisheries,
               the promotion and the development of recreational fisheries, the recovery
               of threatened or endangered species, and the restoration of species that
               soon might be listed. For example, the fish and wildlife management
               program conducts population studies to determine trends in fish stocks
               and evaluates and quantifies habitat for aquatic resources. The degree to
               which appropriations for this program are used for hatchery-related
               management is unknown. The table also shows the total for the three
               activities and the total operations appropriation for the Service for fiscal
               years 1992 through 1999.13




               13
                For consistency, we excluded agency research and development funds in fiscal years 1992 and 1993
               because, beginning with fiscal year 1994, all these funds were transferred to the National Biological
               Survey, which was changed to the National Biological Service and subsequently merged into the U.S.
               Geological Survey in 1996.



               Page 22                                                GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
                                             Appendix I
                                             Funding for the National Fish Hatchery
                                             System




Table I.1: Fisheries-Related Appropriations, Fiscal Years 1992 Through 1999
Amounts in thousands of dollars and in constant 1999 dollars
                                                                                                                          Total for Fish and
                                                       Lower Snake       Fish and wildlife                       Total    Wildlife Service’s
Fiscal year           Hatchery operations                     River         management               fisheries-related           operations
1992                                46,711                    12,272                 13,706                    72,690               493,413
1993                                44,047                    11,868                 15,026                    70,941               497,317
1994                                43,376                    12,896                 17,309                    73,581               540,251
1995                                40,913                    12,495                 16,910                    70,317               545,279
1996                                38,636                    12,100                 17,002                    67,739               526,233
1997                                37,935                    11,881                 18,287                    68,103               540,776
1998                                38,934                    11,786                 21,294                    72,014               603,523
1999                                39,527                    11,648                 22,387                    73,562               661,136
                                             a
                                           The Bonneville Power Administration reimburses the U.S. Treasury for expenditures for the Lower
                                          Snake River Compensation Plan.
                                             b
                                                 These appropriations are for resource management.

                                             Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.



                                             In addition to these appropriated funds, some hatcheries and fish health
                                             and technology centers receive funds from federal and state agencies and
                                             from private entities for fish production or other services. In fiscal year
                                             1998 this additional funding amounted to about $8.8 million. Of this
                                             amount, about $8.3 million, or 94 percent, went to various
                                             salmon-producing national fish hatcheries and fish health and technology
                                             centers in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to mitigate the impacts caused
                                             by federal water projects. The Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Army
                                             Corps of Engineers, and the National Marine Fisheries Service are the
                                             primary agencies providing these funds, which are different from the funds
                                             provided under the Lower Snake River Compensation Plan.

                                             For these additional funding sources, we were unable to develop
                                             year-by-year funding amounts going back to fiscal year 1992.




                                             Page 23                                                 GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix II

Comparison of Fish and Wildlife Service’s
Data on the Total Distribution of Fish and
Fish Eggs With GAO’s Recalculations, Fiscal
Year 1998
                                            Fish and Wildlife Service’s
                                                   total distribution (in GAO’s recalculated total
               Program and product                          thousands) distribution (in thousands)
               Recovery
                 Fish                                            4,677                        3,229
                 Pounds of fish                                   120                             79
                 Fish eggs                                        780                         1,303
               Restoration
                 Fish                                         126,612                        58,238
                 Pounds of fish                                  3,047                        1,038
                 Fish eggs                                     34,919                        26,737
               Mitigation
                 Fish                                          15,318                        70,746
                 Pounds of fish                                  1,848                        3,590
                 Fish eggs                                     61,040                        66,468
               Fish and Wildlife Service lands
                 Fish                                            4,063                        7,663
                 Pounds of fish                                    33                             76
                 Fish eggs                                        715                           872
               Tribal lands
                 Fish                                            3,159                       10,131
                 Pounds of fish                                   351                           575
                 Fish eggs                                       3,422                        3,935
               Partnership management
                 Fish                                          10,433                        11,116
                 Pounds of fish                                   264                           288
                 Fish eggs                                     20,663                        20,473
               Research and developmenta
                 Fish                                              NAb                          243
                 Pounds of fish                                    NA                              7
                 Fish eggs                                         NA                         1,483
               Food for othersc
                 Fish                                              NA                         1,285
                 Pound of fish                                     NA                              2
                 Fish eggs                                         NA                              0
               Not counted/deletedd
                 Fish                                              NA                         1,609
                 Pounds of fish                                    NA                              8
                 Fish eggs                                         NA                              0

                                                                           (Table notes on next page)


               Page 24                                     GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
                                           Appendix II
                                           Comparison of Fish and Wildlife Service’s
                                           Data on the Total Distribution of Fish and
                                           Fish Eggs With GAO’s Recalculations, Fiscal
                                           Year 1998




                                           a
                                            Includes fish and eggs identified as having been sent to laboratories, aquariums, or other
                                           research entities.
                                           b
                                            Not applicable refers to fish and fish egg distribution that did not fit any of the Service’s
                                           definitions.
                                           c
                                            Includes rainbow trout used as food for the endangered Colorado pikeminnow (a fish species) at
                                           the Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center and bluegills used as food for the
                                           endangered wood stork (a bird species) in South Carolina.
                                           d
                                            Represents numbers we did not count as distribution in fiscal year 1998, including fish counted
                                           twice in the distribution at one hatchery, salmon transferred from a state hatchery to a federal
                                           hatchery for tagging purposes and returned to the state hatchery for release, rainbow trout
                                           purchased by an Indian tribe from a private hatchery and held in a federal hatchery prior to
                                           stocking, and mussels raised at one federal hatchery and counted as fish distribution.

                                           Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.



Table II.2: Top Five Fish Distributed by
Each Region According to Their                                                                                                               Weight(in
Amount and Weight, Fiscal Year 1998                                                                                                         thousands
                                                                                            Amount                                                  of
                                           Species                                   (in thousands) Species                                   pounds)
                                           Region 1
                                           Fall chinook                                        52,136 Steelhead                                    835
                                           Spring chinook                                      10,077 Spring chinook                               484
                                           Coho salmon                                           6,934 Fall chinook                                455
                                           Steelhead                                             4,847 Coho salmon                                 393
                                           Chum salmon                                           2,322 Cutthroat                                    78
                                           Region 2
                                           Channel catfish                                       2,236 Rainbow trout                               350
                                           Rainbow trout                                         1,381 Channel catfish                             104
                                           Largemouth bass                                       1,072 Apache trout                                 22
                                           Smallmouth bass                                         132 Cutthroat                                     9
                                           Striped bass                                            111 Brown trout                                   8
                                           Region 3
                                           Lake trout                                            5,980 Lake trout                                  354
                                           Walleye                                               2,584 Rainbow trout                                92
                                           Sauger                                                  777 Brook trout                                   3
                                           Rainbow trout                                           342 Brown trout                                   2
                                           Brook trout                                               30 White bass                                   .6
                                           Region 4
                                           Striped bass                                          7,354 Rainbow trout                             1,257
                                           Rainbow trout                                         6,494 Brown trout                                  62
                                           Bluegill                                              2,324 Striped bass                                 38
                                           Redbreast sunfish                                     1,297 Cutthroat                                    18
                                                                                                                                            (continued)


                                           Page 25                                                   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix II
Comparison of Fish and Wildlife Service’s
Data on the Total Distribution of Fish and
Fish Eggs With GAO’s Recalculations, Fiscal
Year 1998




                                                                                         Weight(in
                                                                                        thousands
                                               Amount                                           of
Species                                 (in thousands) Species                            pounds)
Brown trout                                          593 Channel catfish                              12
Region 5
Atlantic salmon                                   15,439 Atlantic salmon                         169
American shad                                      3,997 Lake trout                                   58
Lake trout                                           770 Rainbow trout                                42
Striped bass                                         287 Landlocked salmon                            16
Landlocked salmon                                    220 Striped bass                                 .3
Region 6
Walleye                                           12,648 Rainbow trout                           419
Northern pike                                      6,034 Cutthroat                               147
Rainbow trout                                      4,327 Lake trout                                   23
Yellow perch                                       1,162 Paddlefish                                    6
Cutthroat                                          1,074 Walleye                                       5

Note: Fish and Wildlife Service Regions are as follows:

Region 1: California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Trust Territories

Region 2: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Region 3: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Region 4: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands

Region 5: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of
Columbia

Region 6: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and
Wyoming

Region 7: Includes Alaska, which does not have any fish hatcheries

Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.




Page 26                                                   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix III

Fish and Fish Egg Distribution Under the
Recovery and Restoration Programs, by Fish
and Wildlife Service Region, Fiscal Year
1998
               Region                                      Fish (in thousands)        Fish eggs (in thousands)
               1                                                             27,259                                  0
               2                                                                227                                  0
               3                                                              5,993                          11,852
               4                                                              7,478                                  0
               5                                                             20,162                          13,515
               6                                                                347                           2,673
               Total                                                         61,466                          28,040
               Note: Fish and Wildlife Service Regions are as follows:

               Region 1: California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the Pacific Trust Territories

               Region 2: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

               Region 3: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin

               Region 4: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina,
               South Carolina, Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands

               Region 5: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New
               Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of
               Columbia

               Region 6: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and
               Wyoming

               Region 7: Includes Alaska, which does not have any fish hatcheries

               Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.




               Page 27                                                   GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix IV

Diseases Found in Some National Fish
Hatcheries, Treatment Options, and
Disposition of Fish

Disease                     Treatment options                                   Disposition of fish
Bacterial kidney disease    Modify diet, use antibiotics, and/or reduce         Destroy highly diseased fish (and high-risk
                            stress                                              eggs) or release them into endemic watersa
Bacterial gill disease      Increase water flow, reduce density of fish         Following recovery, release fish
                            population, and/or use antibiotics or drugs
Whirling disease            No known treatment, avoid exposure to               Destroy or release fish into closed bodies of
                            pathogen                                            water or endemic waters
Enteric red mouth disease   Vaccinate or use antibiotics                        Following recovery, release fish into
                                                                                endemic waters or destroy them
Furunculosis                Vaccinate or use antibiotics                        Following recovery, release fish into
                                                                                endemic waters or destroy them
Enteric septicemia          Use antibiotics                                     Following recovery, release fish into
                                                                                endemic waters or destroy them
Asian tapeworm              No known practical cure,b avoid exposure            Destroy or release fish into endemic waters
                            to pathogen                                         according to state regulations
Coldwater disease           Use antibiotics or reduce rearing stress            Following recovery, release fish
Columnaris disease          Use antibiotics or reduce temperature               Following recovery, release fish
                            stress
                            a
                            Endemic waters are those waters where the pathogen is native or naturally occurring.
                            b
                             According to fish health center officials, the drug treatment for this pathogen is highly toxic and
                            not legal for use in fish that may be consumed as food.

                            Source: GAO’s analysis of data provided by the Fish and Wildlife Service.




                            Page 28                                                 GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix V

Federal Facilities GAO Visited


Headquarters   Division of Hatcheries, Arlington, Virginia

Region 1       Regional Office, Portland, Oregon
               Abernathy Salmon Culture Technical Center, Longview, Washington
               Hagerman National Fish Hatchery, Hagerman, Idaho

               Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery, Cook, Washington
               Olympia Fish Health Center, Olympia, Washington
               Quinault National Fish Hatchery, Humptulips, Washington
               Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery, Warm Springs, Oregon


Region 2       Regional Office, Albuquerque, New Mexico
               Dexter National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center; Dexter, New
               Mexico
               Mescalero National Fish Hatchery, Mescalero, New Mexico


Region 4       Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia
               Mammoth Spring National Fish Hatchery, Mammoth Spring, Arkansas
               Norfork National Fish Hatchery, Norfork, Arkansas
               Warm Springs National Fish Hatchery, Warm Springs, Georgia
               Warm Springs Regional Fisheries Laboratory, Warm Springs, Georgia
               Warm Springs Fish Health Laboratory, Warm Springs, Georgia
               Welaka National Fish Hatchery, Welaka, Florida


Region 6       Regional Office, Lakewood, Colorado
               Bozeman Fish Health Center, Bozeman, Montana
               Bozeman Fish Technology Center, Bozeman, Montana
               Ennis National Fish Hatchery, Ennis, Montana
               Hotchkiss National Fish Hatchery, Hotchkiss, Colorado
               Leadville National Fish Hatchery, Leadville, Colorado




               Page 29                                  GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
Appendix VI

Comments From the Department of the
Interior




              Page 30       GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
           Appendix VI
           Comments From the Department of the
           Interior




(141296)   Page 31                               GAO/RCED-00-10 National Fish Hatcheries
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