Fish Hatchery Development in Idaho
Fish hatcheries serve a vital role in maintaining the health of Idaho’s natural bodies of water. Certain species, such as the sockeye salmon, are endangered and the state focuses on rearing new fish to keep appropriate stock levels in our water. Natural depletion also occurs in lakes, ponds, and rivers across the state, due to recreational activities like fishing. Certain man made accidents, illnesses, and water shortages also affect stock levels. The many hatcheries that fall under the jurisdiction of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game help to ensure a bright future for the waterways of our state.
The Department of Fish and Game works diligently throughout the year to monitor the health of fish populations in the state’s waterways, lakes, and streams. As depletion occurs, hatcheries work to replenish the stock with new fish. This ensures ample fish for recreational fishers, while simultaneously keeping the water healthy and vibrant. Because the genetics of hatchery fish are limited, all captive fish released into the wild are sterilized to maintain the integrity of the wild species. Young fish and adults alike are trucked to various waterways as the state notifies the hatcheries of the need.
While focusing on keeping the splendor of Idaho preserved is an important goal, hatcheries aren’t only useful for maintaining our waterways. Idaho is also the largest producer of trout in the entire United States. These trout serve as an important food source, with buyers from across the nation purchasing these fish. If fresh trout is purchased in an American supermarket, there’s a good chance it was sourced in Idaho. Our local hatcheries must work to establish healthy relationships with seafood wholesalers, who in turn provide transportation and partnerships with food markets.
The process of rearing fish is quite complex. Hatcheries must first harvest eggs and fertilize them, before watching them closely for the hatch. As the fish grow after birth, the hatchery moves the fish to other areas of the facility that are better equipped to handle large fish. As a single hatchery is often responsible for producing thousands upon thousands of fish each year, these companies must hire many workers to tend to the various responsibilities of maintaining the facility.
The Gem County Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Foundation works to encourage the development of hatcheries and fish rearing facilities in our local region. Some of the fish produced in Idaho’s hatcheries are transported to bodies of water across the state, whether they intermingle with existing fish. Others are sold to wholesalers who work with restaurants and food markets across the nation. Developing additional hatcheries in Gem County would allow our region to be more involved with this process, spurring economic growth for local business owners and preserving the natural wonder of our fair state.
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