Working with tribes for healthy waters and fish
Fisheries Biologist and Communication Coordinator Catherine Gatenby dishes about fish!
Conserving fish and keeping rivers and lakes healthy for all nations for all people takes cooperation and collaboration. The Northeast Fisheries Program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with Native American governments to bring back self-sustaining populations of native fish–Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sturgeon, American shad, lake sturgeon and lake trout, to name a few.
Together we share funding and brain power to determine biological needs, decide where to focus habitat restoration, monitor overall health and distribution of wild fisheries and determine when to use hatchery-rearing and stocking to give a boost to wild populations.
Our biologists have helped tribal groups from Virginia to Oregon learn about shad and freshwater mussel culture. We produce lake trout at Allegheny National Fish Hatchery to stock into tribal and public waters. And we help the Seneca Nation to control sea lamprey, which have had devastating effects on native lake trout. We also work with the Six Nations of the Iroquois to restore lake sturgeon.
This ongoing collaboration reverses 200 years of degradation by removing several dams, returning thousands of river miles for migratory fish such as Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sturgeon, shortnose sturgeon and American shad. It makes the river healthier for all fish, too.
The Northeast Fisheries program also promotes recreational fishing on tribal lands across the country. We ship more than one million disease-free rainbow trout eggs from White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery to five tribes – the Apache, Arapaho, Mescalero, Navaho, and Cherokee.
Our scientists at the Northeast Fishery Center in Lamar, Pennsylvania regularly monitor health of the rainbow trout, to certify the eggs disease-free. This is critical to prevent the spread of aquatic diseases that could harm native fish, and threaten the health of aquatic ecosystems across the country.
Relationships with tribes to restore rivers, lakes and healthy fish populations enhances recreation and the economy on tribal and public lands across our nation and embodies the mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: “working with others, to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.”