Recent studies have demonstrated that fish feeds contain significant concentrations of contaminants, many of which can bioaccumulate and bioconcentrate in fish. Organochlorine (OC) contaminants are present in the fish oils and fish meals used in feed manufacture, and some researchers speculate that all fish feeds contain measurable levels of some contaminants. To determine the concentration of contaminants in feeds used in US Fish and Wildlife Service's National Fish Hatcheries, we systematically collected samples of feed from 11 cold-water fish hatcheries. All samples (collected from October 2001 to October 2003) contained at least one polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxin (PCDD), polychlorinated dibenzofuran (PCDF), polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congener, or dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) metabolite. Of the 55 samples in which they were analyzed 39 contained PCDDs, 24 contained PCDFs and 24 contained DDT or its metabolites. There were 10- to 150-fold differences in concentrations of total PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs and DDT. Although PCBs were the most commonly detected contaminant in our study, concentrations (range: 0.07-10.46 ng g-1 wet weight) were low compared to those reported previously. In general, we also found lower levels of OCs than reported previously in fish feed. Perhaps most notable was the near absence of OC pesticides - except for DDT or its metabolites, and two samples containing hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH). While contaminant concentrations were generally low, the ecological impacts can not be determined without a measure of the bioaccumulation of these compounds in the fish and the fate of these compounds after the fish are released. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.