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May 15, 2002


For more information contact:
Mimi Dunne at 908-637-4125

Beginning last month and continuing through September, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP's) Division of Fish and Wildlife will stock fish from its Hackettstown Hatchery for children's fishing derbies throughout the State. Some 70 events are planned to provide children with a positive introduction to fishing.

"The Division's Children's Fishing Derby Program introduces youngsters to an enjoyable and positive way to spend their time and offers parents a perfect opportunity to bond with their children," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "There's no better family-oriented activity than fishing together."

The Hackettstown Hatchery, which has been in operation continuously since 1911, will stock sunfish, bass, catfish, crappies and bullheads raised especially for the events. Each derby will receive about 150 fish.

Eight derbies in Salem and Cumberland counties will be stocked with fish grown at the Fairton Federal Correctional Institution (FFCI) in Millville. That agency has been working cooperatively with the DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife for five years to support a very popular program. Fish from the FFCI are supplied by the State, grown in the aquaculture facility by the prisoners, and delivered to the derbies by FFCI staff.

The DEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife operates two hatcheries to supply the public with both warm and coldwater fisheries. The Pequest Trout Hatchery in Oxford raises nearly 700,000 brook, brown and rainbow trout. Hackettstown raises about a dozen species of warm and coolwater fish. In addition, the Hackettstown facility recently completed the construction of a new building that now permits an intensive indoor operation. Both hatcheries operate on the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and trout stamps.

Fishing Derby organizers include fishing clubs, town recreation departments, service organizations, PTOs, PBAs and other federal, state, and county government agencies. Many derbies are stocked as part of a community day or other special event.

On Free Fishing Days weekend (June 1-2), 15 events will be stocked. For many of the events, Division conservation officers and staff will present a brief introduction to the types of fish stocked as well as fishing ethics, safety and laws. Many of the events are co-sponsored by Wal-Mart.

A listing of the derbies stocked by the Division can be found on the following website: or linked through the Division's website at