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Q & A
State Fish Hatchery or Fish Culture Station
Question
What's the difference between a state fish hatchery and a fish culture station?  I see both terms used on your web site and in various documents.
Answer
The term "state fish hatchery" and "fish culture station" are synonymous and are used interchangeably.

For many years, Pennsylvania's state-operated fish rearing facilities were called "state fish hatcheries."  The older signs at our facilities reflect the use of this name.  The term "fish culture station" was then used for a number of years.  The current practice is to once again refer to them as "state fish hatcheries." If you look at how other states name these facilities, you'll see that both names are used. 

Whatever you call them, our hatcheries are vital components of our efforts to provide fishing opportunities for Pennsylvania anglers.

There are fifteen (15) state fish hatcheries in Pennsylvania. Owned by the state and operated by the Fish and Boat Commission, these stations are strategically located across the Commonwealth to take advantage of high-quality water supplies and to maximize fish stocking logistics.

Seven hatcheries combine to produce some 4 million adult trout annually. Stocked into the waters of the Commonwealth, these trout support fishing activity that generates some $500 million in economic activity each year.

More than 100 million juvenile fish of popular species like striped bass, walleye, catfish, muskellunge, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, pike and pickerel are reared at six state fish hatcheries. The warmwater/ coolwater hatcheries supplement natural reproduction of these species and contribute to recreational fishing generating more than $1 billion for Pennsylvania annually.

Three stations support steelhead trout fishing. In addition to providing a unique trophy trout fishery in Erie County, these state-hatchery steelhead are a vital part of the region’s economy, conservatively valued at $7 million annually.

In addition to supporting recreational fishing, Pennsylvania’s state hatcheries are also at the heart of groundbreaking efforts to restore species such as American shad and paddlefish to what were once their native waters.

Our hatcheries are open to the public and some have visitor centers – visit our hatchery directory for more information.

Note that in addition to state owned and operated hatcheries there are dozens of cooperative nurseries operated by local sport groups.

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