New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Karl Moffatt, (505) 476-8007
Public contact: (888) 248-6866



PECOS – More than 160,000 small rainbow trout will be removed from their raceways at Lisboa Springs Hatchery near Pecos after tests showed some of the fish had contracted a bacterial disease.

The Department of Game and Fish found bacterial kidney disease in trout being raised in one of two sections of the hatchery during regular testing in early February. All of the trout, ranging in size from three to nine inches, will be destroyed to ensure full decontamination of the section, department Fisheries Chief Mike Sloane said.

“That’s why we do this testing to ensure we are raising strong, healthy fish for the public to catch and eat,” Sloane said.

The disease is naturally present in the environment and can be caught by fish due to a variety of circumstances, including living in a hatchery environment. The disease is no threat to humans. However, the department will not be distributing the diseased fish for human consumption because the department does not want to risk further spreading the disease, Sloane said.

“It’s a little like catching the common flu for them, but in some instances it can be catastrophic to a population of fish,” Sloane said.

The affected area of the hatchery will be drained, disinfected, restocked and additional testing will occur to ensure its cleanliness before it is returned to full production. This process may take up to two years to complete.

The hatchery will continue to produce trout in its second section, but overall production will be reduced by about half at the Lisboa Springs Hatchery. Waters normally stocked by the hatchery, including Monastery Lake, Cowles Ponds and the Pecos River will receive their scheduled allotments of fish, Sloane said.

The department’s five other hatcheries normally produce excess fish and those will be used to make up for the shortfall.