Environment & Science

DFG faces suit over hatchery practices harming trout, fish

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A conservation group is challenging the way the state hatches trout and other fish and stocks them in California rivers and streams.

California has operated fish incubation projects for a long time. The trout and other species developed there replenish state waterways – most often to support recreational anglers in their quest for the big catch.

Now the Center for Biological Diversity is suing the state fish and game department for the second time. It's concerned about studies that suggest hatchery trout spread genetic mutation, and possibly sickness, among fish. Scientists also have observed non-native trout eating eggs and babies of native frogs and salamanders.

An earlier lawsuit forced the state to study the environmental effects of hatchery operations. The resulting report, released last month, described some ways to improve hatchery operations.

But environmentalists claim its findings improperly favor hatching fish over preserving native species already struggling in state waters. A spokeswoman for the fish and game department says it's standing by its assessment.