U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Fisheries and Habitat Conservation
The Fisheries Program
For 133 years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fisheries Program has worked with partners to recover, restore, and maintain self-sustaining populations of fish and other aquatic species, while enhancing fishing opportunities for the American people.
Federal stewardship of the nation’s fishery and aquatic resources has been a prime responsibility of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Fisheries Program for the past 133 years. The Fisheries Program is composed of two principal components: the Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Program and the National Fish Hatchery System.
The Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance Program uses on-the-ground capabilities and technical expertise to conserve and restore fish and wildlife populations. Management activities include habitat and population assessments critical for resource planning, restoration and management; providing expertise and leadership in the development of resource plans; protecting native populations from the threats of aquatic nuisance species; restoring degraded habitats and opening up fish passage.
The National Fish Hatchery System (NFHS) has a unique responsibility in helping to recover species listed under the Endangered Species Act, restoring native aquatic populations, mitigating for fisheries lost as a result of federal water projects, and providing fish to benefit State and Tribal programs.
The Fisheries Program leads the Service’s efforts to fulfill Tribal trust responsibilities
by providing technical assistance and expertise, training Tribal members in the propagation and management of fish and wildlife resources, consulting with Tribes regarding fish and wildlife resources for which the Service is responsible, and helping to restore and maintain subsistence fishing.
AQUATIC SPECIES CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT
The Fisheries Program is a key contributor to accelerating the recovery of listed, candidate, and depleted aquatic species. The National Fish Hatchery System produces healthy and genetically appropriate animals and plants to re-establish wild populations, conducts critical research on fish and aquatic species disease and prevention, provides refugia for endangered and imperiled species, and develops and shares new culture techniques. Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance helps to reverse declines in fish populations by developing and implementing restoration and recovery strategies, assessing the status of remnant stocks, implementing invasive species prevention and control measures, evaluating population responses to stocking and habitat restoration, managing subsistence fishery harvest on Federal lands in Alaska, conducting genetic population assessments and engaging in public outreach and education activities. Zebra mussels are but one invasive species thatcontributes to degradation of native species andtheir habitats. USFWS Photo.AQUATIC HABITAT CONSERVATION ANDMANAGEMENTThe Fisheries Program has expanded itshabitat conservation and managementactivities to restore aquatic habitatsthroughout the United States. Wildlife Management Assistance assesseshabitat conditions, identifies fish habitatneeds, controls or manages aquaticnuisance species, removes or bypassesartificial barriers and monitors the results.The National Fish Hatchery System worksclosely with other Service biologists andwith the States, Tribes, and the privatesector to complement habitat restorationand other resource management strategiesfor maintaining healthy ecosystems thatsupport healthy fisheries, and to monitorfish health through the National Wild FishHealth Survey.COOPERATION WITH NATIVE AMERICANSThe Fisheries Program has a long history ofproviding technical guidance and support toTribes, managing more than 55 million acresof some of the most important aquatic andterrestrial habitats on and off reservations.Fish and Wildlife Management Assistanceprovides support in planning, assessments,management of aquatic resources forsubsistence, habitat restoration andconservation enforcement trainingprograms. System produces fish for Tribal subsistenceprograms and to help re-establish andmaintain native fish populations on Triballands, as well as providing training in fishculture techniques and genetics.Health Centers provide special leadershipto advance the state-of-the-art in fisheriesconservation tools needed to solve on-the-ground hatchery and fishery managementproblems that make restoration, recoveryand mitigation programs possible.Contributions in genetic analyses, nutrition,population dynamics, cryopreservation,biometrics, culture technologies, diseasediagnostics and new approved drugs haveapproved the quality and relevance of bothhatchery production programs and broaderfisheries management activities. Wildlife Management Assistance usesstate-of-the-art scientific techniques tostructure and implement monitoring andevaluation studies critical to determinesuccessful management actions.RECREATIONAL AND SUBSISTENCEFISHING AND PUBLIC USEThe Fisheries Program plays an importantrole in helping the public use this importantresource. of native game fish, through stocking by theNational Fish Hatchery System, providesand enhances recreational fishingopportunities for the Nation’s 35 millionanglers age 16 and older. Fisheries Subsistence Managementprogram manages subsistence fisheriesharvest by rural Alaskans on 237 millionacres of Federal lands, encompassing 66percent of Alaska lands and 52 percent ofAlaska’s rivers and lakes. recognize and promote the value ofresponsible recreational and subsistenceuse of fisheries and help States, Tribes andother partners.In accordance with Federal law, Servicepolicy has been established to pursuemitigation actions for losses of fish, wildlife,and their habitats from Federal waterdevelopment projects. provided by the Service are highly valuedby the Nation’s anglers and are extremelyvaluable to state and local economics, inmany cases generating more than $100 ineconomic effects for each budget dollarspent. Mountains, this equates to approximately$200 million annually in direct expenditureson recreational fishing activities, which helpmaintain more than 5,500 jobs.LEADERSHIP IN SCIENCE ANDTECHNOLOGYAll Fish and Wildlife ManagementAssistance and National Fish HatcherySystem offices help to develop andincorporate sound science and innovativetechnology for mitigation, restoration, andrecovery of aquatic species and theirhabitats, and for evaluating populationresponses to conservation actions. Fish Technology Centers and nine FishThe Service is ready to seize theopportunity to make a real differenceconserving American’s fisheries. aligning the program with the priorities ofour partners, the Service and its FisheriesProgram are poised to build on 133 years ofconserving America’s fisheries byaddressing the challenges andopportunities facing our fish and theirhabitats well into the 21st Century.USFWS PhotoUSFWS PhotoUSFWS PhotoFor more information about the FisheriesProgram, contact U.S. Fish and WildlifeService’s Fisheries and HabitatConservation at 202/208-6394 or visit us onthe Internet at http://fisheries.fws.gov/.U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service800/344-WILDhttp://www.fws.govFebruary 2005Fish andThe National Fish HatcheryFish andRestoration of depleted populationsThe AlaskaThese activitiesMitigation fisheriesIn the Southeast and in the RockySevenBy
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