I recently had the opportunity to join the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) to tour a fish hatchery and learn more about how funding from fishing licenses, boat registrations, fishing gear and more are used for conservation projects.
Visiting a Fish Hatchery
We started out at the PA Fish and Boat Commission’s H.R. Stackhouse School of Fishery Conservation and Water Safety. From there, we toured the Benner Springs State Fish Hatchery where different species of trout are raised and then used to stock local waterways. One of 14 state fish hatcheries in Pennsylvania, this hatchery produces approximately 544,000 of the 3.2 million adult trout stocked annually by the PFBC into public waterways open to angling.
This being my first visit to a hatchery, I was amazed at all the work, strategy, and attention to detail that goes into raising the fish. There are many employees there to help in the process from feeding the fish, to testing water quality and fish health, to determining how many fish to release in each area. Stocking fish is vital to providing various fishing opportunities to anglers in Pennsylvania. Not only are trout stocked, but also many other species, including Walleye, Muskellunge, Striped Bass, Steelhead trout, Channel Catfish, and American Shad.
Fish Stocking and Surveying
When the fish are big enough, they are taken to different bodies of water to be released. After the hatchery, we saw some on the grounds work at Bald Eagle State Park. PFBC showed us how they use a trap net to capture fish for identification, processing, and release. This process helps PFBC to take surveys of the types of species and numbers of fish in the body of water.
Fishing for Conservation
Buying a fishing license and registering a boat both contribute to funds for these types of conservation-related projects. And, even just by purchasing equipment, you contribute towards conservation through taxes from your purchase.
Manufacturers and other industry groups also pay additional excise taxes on equipment. So, even just by purchasing equipment, you contribute towards conservation through taxes from your purchase. When we participate in fishing and boating, we are all together helping protect our environment. Be sure to thank your fishing and boating industry friends. Raising and stocking fish is one small example of the work that goes into protecting our environment. Without these projects, we’d lose the current opportunities we have to get out on the water.
PFBC and fish and wildlife agencies across the country are out there every day, working to protect and conserve the land, water and wildlife we all love. Without anglers, boaters and the excise taxes funding conservation projects, we would not have all of the amazing opportunities we have today to get out on the water.
It’s easy to take our natural resources for granted. Go outside, go fishing, take a friend, appreciate your surroundings. Buy your fishing license- it’s vital for you and future generations to be able to go fishing and get out on the water.
Find out more about conservation through participation. Get to know more about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania.