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Next Generation of Great Lakes Lake Trout




     For Immediate Release:        Contact: Mike Donofrio (906) 524-5757
     February 12, 1998                           Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish 
     Hatchery Manager
     EA98-18                          Dale Bast (715) 372-8510 Iron River 
     National Fish Hatchery Manager
     
     
     Cooperative Agreement Spawns Next Generation of Great Lakes Lake Trout
     
     A cooperative agreement between the Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish Hatchery 
     and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has produced a new 
     generation of wild lake trout destined to become the brood stock of 
     the future.
     
     Using eggs collected and fertilized on three different Lake Superior 
     reefs (Klondike, north of Grand Marais, Michigan; Traverse Island in 
     Keweenaw Bay; and Gull Island Shoal in the Apostle Islands, 
     Wisconsin), the cold, clear waters of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish 
     Hatchery fostered three new batches of trout fry.
     
     Tribal staff nurtured the eggs during an extended incubation period, 
     then transferred the young fish to tanks in January.  The lake trout, 
     representing three distinct strains, have been feeding for the last 
     few weeks, and now measure just over an inch long.  Once they reach a 
     pound in weight, 6,000 of the fish will be turned over to the Iron 
     River National Fish Hatchery operated by the Service in northern 
     Wisconsin. 
     
     The wild fish are very important.  "These young fish become the brood 
     stock for the next generation of lake trout," explained Iron River 
     Hatchery Manager Dale Bast.  "They'll be stocked back into parts of 
     the Great Lakes where as yet wild fish aren't reproducing in 
     sufficient numbers.  Along with sea lamprey control and habitat 
     restoration, periodic stocking of lake trout is critical toward 
     restoring wild lake trout populations in Lakes Superior, Huron and 
     Michigan." 
     
     "The incubation process involves placing the eggs in vertical 
     incubation trays for approximately 60 days and then, as the newly 
     hatched fish, or `sac-fry' increase their mobility, they're placed in 
     100-gallon rearing tanks," said Keweenaw Bay Hatchery Manager Mike 
     Donofrio.  "The fry are then placed on a high-protein diet to ensure 
     proper development." 
     
     The fish-rearing process at the Community's facility is part of a 
     two-year Cooperative Agreement between the Keweenaw Bay Indian 
     Community and the Service. The Service relies on the Community to 
     isolate the three strains of lake trout for use as future brood stock. 
      Three federal health inspections over the next 18 months will ensure 
     the fry are disease-free before being transferred to the Iron River 
     National Fish Hatchery.  In exchange, the Service will provide 100,000 
     yearling lake trout and 7,000 yearling brook trout from the hatchery 
     to Keweenaw Bay and the Community's reservation waters. 
     
     The fry will be growing about one-half to three-quarters of an inch 
     each month and will undergo their first health inspection this spring. 
      Members of the media and public are invited to view and photograph 
     the fish during this stage by contacting Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish 
     Hatchery Manager Mike Donofrio at 906/524-5757.  Photos of the fry are 
     also available. 
     
     -FWS-