The Maryland Department of Naural Resources Fishing and Boating Services Hatcheries Division is responsible for production of nearly two dozen species for fish stock enhancement, education and outreach, shellfish production, cooperative fish culture projects, and restoration of anadromous species in Maryland waters of the Chesapeake Bay.
A variety of strategies are used to raise fish for stocking, including intensive culture, extensive culture and integrated culture. Fish are cultured to larval size in tanks or ponds. Juveniles and adults can be grown in ponds, raceways, tanks or net pens. The Hatcheries Division raises various larval fish species for stocking directly into State waters. These larvae can also be cultured to juvenile size for restoration or corrective stocking purposes. The program maintains captive populations of sub-adult and adult fish to be used as future brood stock.
The Hatcheries Division has produced many successful fisheries projects. Cold water hatcheries produce trout for statewide "put and take" fishing opportunities and trout population enhancement. Warm water hatcheries produce dozens of fish species for various Hatchery Division projects including corrective stocking in State reservoirs, tidal largemouth bass enhancement and children's fishing rodeo stocking. The Hatcheries Division conducts an Atlantic sturgeon conservation project and ongoing reintroduction of American shad and hickory shad to the Choptank and Patuxent rivers.