The Berkshire Hatchery Foundation   

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The Berkshire National Fish Hatchery is located on the border of Monterey and New Marlborough in the village of Hartsville. Our 148 acres are home to many diverse species of wildlife and the source of a pristine aquifer which supplies 200 gallons per minute of high quality water to the Hatchery. This water source, which flows by gravity through the various pools used for fish culture, makes our site ideal for learning about fish culture and the natural history of the Berkshires.

Through the foresight of John Sullivan Scully the property was bequeathed to the predecessor of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1914. Since that time the Hatchery has had an illustrious life supporting the culture of trout, salmon, and small mouth bass. Ten of thousands of fish have been cultured at the Hatchery over the ninety plus years of its public operation.

Due to budgetary limitations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service closed the facility in 1994 and it remained closed until Hampshire College and the Western Massachusetts Center for Sustainable Aquaculture leased it in the fall of 1999. In 2001 a group of local individuals formed the Berkshire Hatchery Foundation and took over care of the facility. In August 2006 they signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to operate the Hatchery – making it the only Federal Fish Hatchery within the service to be run completely by volunteers. Now jointly operated under the supervision of the USFWS and the Berkshire Hatchery Foundation, the Hatchery continues to be a public education resource.

Public education and awareness is the core of our mission at the Berkshire Hatchery. Our Hatchery provides a site which educates people of all ages and enhances efforts to expand aquaculture knowledge. This facility allows visitors to learn more about the importance of fish culture both in food fish production and remediation of depleted wild stocks. We raise trout for local recreation, education and enhancement, as well as Atlantic salmon for the Connecticut River Restoration program.

The support we receive comes from volunteers, donations, fundraisers, and national groups like the Izaak Walton League of America (Berkshire Chapter).

 

Hatchery Timeline

  • 1914: Berkshire National Fish Hatchery deeded to the U.S. Government.

  • 1916: Congress authorized operation of the Hatchery.

  • 1918-1964: Hatchery produced trout and smallmouth bass.

  • 1964: Hatchery operation transferred to the State of Massachusetts.

  • 1965-1971: Hatchery operated by the Isaac Walton League.

  • 1971: USFWS resumed operation of the Hatchery.

  • 1973-1975: Trout production phased out in favor of Atlantic salmon.

  • 1974: First returning restored salmon held at the Hatchery.

  • 1994: Operations are suspended; Hatchery is closed and placed in caretaker status due to budgetary constraints.

  • 1996: USFWS initiates discussions with others to re-open Hatchery.

  • 1998: Western Massachusetts Center for Sustainable Aquaculture at Hampshire College proposes to utilize facility for educational purposes and to assist the USFWS Fisheries program.

  • 1999: Memorandum of Agreement between USFWS and Hampshire College signed, paving the way for the facility to be re-opened.
  • October 1999: Renovations begin on the neglected hatchery by the WMCSA and the newly formed Berkshire Hatchery Foundation.

  • Spring 2000: First fish arrive at the hatchery.

  • Spring 2001: First annual fishing derby held at the hatchery.

  • Spring 2002: An open house is held to invite the community to enjoy the hatchery.

  • Spring 2002: Atlantic Salmon arrive and second annual fishing derby held.

  • Summer 2002: BHF holds a fishing derby for Lake Garfield Fest and the first annual Lobster Fest is held as fundraiser for educational programs.

  • Fall 2002: Trout are spawned first time in over 20 years at the hatchery.

  • 2003: WMCSA is relocated to the University of Massachusetts.

  • Spring 2003: A Nature Center is developed; 45,000+ trout fry hatch; 1st annual Earth Day event held for families.

  • Summer 2003: Development and implementation of workshops on aquaculture and the environment.