Nashville, TN – Federal fish hatcheries responsible for raising 60 percent of all trout in Tennessee are in jeopardy due to proposed federal budget cuts. The cuts would become effective October 11th, 2011 and would eliminate a majority of the funding for the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery and the Erwin National Fish Hatchery.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) relies on the fish from Dale Hollow and Erwin hatcheries to provide quality fishing at dozens of locations in Tennessee. Both facilities are operated by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
These hatcheries supply trout to several popular fisheries in Tennessee, including rivers such as the Caney Fork, Clinch, Hiwassee, Watauga, and Tellico and many reservoirs such as Dale Hollow, South Holston, and Watauga. Dale Hollow NFH is also an integral part of TWRA’s winter trout program that delivers trout to communities in Middle and West Tennessee.
The cascading effects of these reductions have not yet been projected by TWRA managers, but will drastically affect all aspects of trout fishing in Tennessee. The bottom line is that if these facilities are cut, TWRA Fish Hatcheries cannot make up the shortfall and recreational opportunities for the state’s 150,000 trout anglers and the revenues they generate will be severely reduced.
“Thankfully, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made provisions for partial funding to help curtail some of the cutbacks that would occur on Corps projects,” said Ed Carter, TWRA Executive Director. “However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still far short of the funding needed to supply trout needed for all the tailwater and reservoir fisheries on a statewide basis.
“Over the next few days we will be urging members of Tennessee’s Congressional Delegation, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Director of the USFWS to work toward a collaborative effort to find a solution to this budget dilemma.”