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GLIN==>> Fish transfer/ceremony today at Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish Hatchery



Contacts:
Mark Maskill, (612) 713-5127, mark_maskill@fws.gov
Mike Donofrio, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, (906) 524-5757 ph.;
(906)524-5748  fax

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Fish Isolation Facility -  Lake Trout Production

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ( Service) and Keweenaw Bay Indian
Community (Community) invite the public to attend a fish transfer and
ceremony celebrating the success of a two year Agreement for the Community
to operate a fish health isolation facility which plays a key role in
efforts to restore lake trout in the Great Lakes Region.

Those attending the ceremony, 11 a.m. June 22, will have an opportunity to
observe Community and National Fish Hatchery staffs load approximately 6,000
lake trout for delivery to Iron River National Fish Hatchery, Wisconsin, and
Pendills Creek National Fish Hatchery, Michigan.

John Christian, Assistant Regional Director for Fisheries, said, 'The lake
trout and brook trout restoration effort in the Great Lakes will continue
successfully thanks to cooperative efforts of the Keweenaw Bay Indian
Community.   Fish hatcheries play an important role in achieving mutual
benefits for interjurisdictio
nal fishery resources and lake trout restoration efforts.  Midwestern tribes
have responded to the challenges of resource management in their unique role
as users and managers of more than 900,000 acres of reservation inland
lakes, treaty ceded territories and the Great Lakes.  Their contributions
are vital toward restoring these fish species and are greatly appreciated.'

Dale Bast, Hatchery Manager, Iron River National Fish Hatchery, said, 'This
agreement fosters the continued integration of fish health and fish genetics
into the Service's captive broodstock program.  We need disease-free
broodstocks that represent the genetics of wild fish.  The Keweenaw Bay
Indian Fish Hatchery first initiated a two-year cooperative program in
September 1995 and renewed  it in 1997.  Under the 1997 agreement, the
Community provided fish isolation facilities for wild lake trout eggs from
Klondike Reef (Michigan ), Traverse Island (Michigan) and Apostle Islands
(Wisconsin).  During the past two years the Community has successfully
reared lake trout through the required disease clearance period
which included 3 separate fish health inspections.'

According to Bast, 'The project was once again completed by the community
with excellent results.  The three strains of  lake trout yearlings that
were being held in isolation were given the very best of care and, now that
a pathogen-free disease history has been established, these fish will be
transferred from the Keeweenaw Bay Community Hatchery to the Iron River and
Pendills Creek National Fish Hatcheries,' Bast said.  'There they can be
safely used for further egg production and the subsequent fingerlings will
then be used to meet restoration stocking efforts throughout the Great Lakes
basin.'

The cooperative agreement also includes the production of 100,000 lake trout
yearlings at the Iron River National Fish Hatchery and 7,000 brook trout
from Genoa National Fish Hatchery (Wisconsin), all supporting the fish
stocking priorities of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

Wayne Swartz, Tribal Chairman, said, 'Our agreements with the Service have
further enabled us to cooperate in native fisheries restoration in the Great
Lakes. The Community is pleased with the results of these agreements and
looks forward to working with the Service on other natural resource
projects.'

Christian noted, 'This agreement with the Community is vitally important to
meet the demand for new broodstocks until a long-term solution for isolation
needs is achieved.  Also, it supports the Department of the Interior's trust
relationship with tribal government.  And, equally important, the agreement
will help us k
eep healthy lake trout in the Great Lakes for all of the people of the
region to enjoy.'

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Fish Hatchery is located in Michigan's Upper
Peninsula on the L'Anse Indian Reservation, about 7 miles northeast of
L'Anse, MI on Pequaming Road.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish and wildlife and
their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.  The
Service manages the 93-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System
comprising more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management offices, and 78 ecological
services field stations.

The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered
Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally
significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as
wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts.  It
also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions
of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state
wildlife agencies.

For further information about the programs and activities of the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service in the Great Lakes-Big Rivers Region, please visit our
home page at: http://www.fws.gov/r3pao/

 -FWS-