Pearl River, La — Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) biologists took the first step in restoring fish to the Pearl River this afternoon by releasing thousands of fish into the river. Approximately 30,000 channel catfish and 24,000 bluegill fingerlings were stocked at sites along the river in St. Tammany and Washington parishes.
The stocking enhances the recovery of local fish populations following the Temple-Inland incident that killed over 500,000 fish and freshwater mussels in the river. Although the fish population is expected to recover naturally, extra fingerlings were allocated to Pearl River to speed up the natural process. Anglers have already reported catching fish in the affected area, prior to the stocking.
“The department recognizes how important fishing in the Pearl River is to the local communities and anglers of south Louisiana,” said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. “And we are making great efforts to restore the river as quickly as possible.”
The fish were raised and distributed from the Booker Fowler Fish Hatchery in central Louisiana. The native fish were spawned this spring and are less than a year old.
“This is a healthy batch of fish. They are about 4 to 5 inches long and average 40 fish per pound. Because of their size, survival rates are expected to be high,” said Director of Inland Fisheries Mike Wood. “The fish were dispersed in multiple areas with optimal habitat to increase their chances of survival.”
The Department is currently in the preliminary stages of assessment following a fish kill caused by a discharge from Temple-Inland Paper Mill in Bogalusa, La. Prescribed values for each impacted fish and mussel were recently submitted to Temple-Inland for review