U.S. Senators Kay R. Hagan (D-NC), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Representative Larry Kissell (NC-8) yesterday introduced legislation to transfer the McKinney Lake Fish Hatchery from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the State of North Carolina. The bill has no cost and is supported by both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
"My family and I love fishing on North Carolina's lakes, and this legislation will preserve fishing programs enjoyed by all North Carolinians across our great state," said Hagan. "The NC Wildlife Resources Commission has always effectively managed this hatchery, and it only makes sense that this important resource be transferred to the state."
"The McKinney Lake National Fish Hatchery is an example of the abundant resources and research opportunities that North Carolina enjoys, and I'm pleased that our state will benefit from it for generations to come," said Burr.
"The hard work done at the McKinney Hatchery ensures that North Carolinians will be able to experience the fun of fishing for years and years to come," said Kissell. "This hatchery is such a vital part of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission's work. It only makes sense that this incredible resource be transferred to the ownership of our State. It's important that we continue to reap the economic benefits of a healthy recreational fishing industry."
Located between Southern Pines and Rockingham, the McKinney Lake State Fish Hatchery is a warmwater hatchery used primarily for growing channel catfish for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission's Community Fishing Program. Small catfish are grown throughout the spring, and in April, the fish are collected and stocked into community lakes across the state.
In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offered to transfer ownership and operation of this hatchery to the NC Wildlife Resources Commission to help meet the state's fisheries management objectives. However, due to the structural deficiencies of the lake's dam, the transfer was never completed. Since then, the dam issues have been corrected, and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission has had full management of the hatchery under a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. An act of Congress is required to permanently transfer the fishery to North Carolina.