News & Views
Invasive mudsnail found at Montana hatchery
By Mari-Len De Guzman
The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) has detected the invasive New Zealand mudsnails at the Blue Fish Hatchery, a first for the state-run hatchery.
In a news release, the FWP said the aquatic invasive species were found on Aug. 18th and has since ordered that no fish will be allowed to leave or enter the Blue Fish Hatchery, which is located in southcentral Montana. The hatchery raises trout and is the third largest production facility in the state, with the primary mandate of stocking into urban ponds, reservoir and other public waters for sport fishing.
New Zealand mudsnails were first discovered in Montana in 1995 in the Madison River above Hebgen Lake Reservoir. Since then, they have been detected in several major river drainages across the state.
All hatcheries in Montana are inspected annually for AIS and fish pathogens. The mudsnails at Bluewater Fish Hatchery were detected during the hatchery’s annual inspection, the FWP said.
FWP staff are working on a containment and mitigation strategy for the Blue Fish Hatchery. They will also be looking at where the hatchery’s fish have been stocked this year and investigate whether the stocking has spread New Zealand mudsnails to any state waters.
The closest New Zealand mudsnail infestation to the hatchery is Bluewater Creek, which the hatchery drains into, the FWP said.