Fish hatcheries are the lifeblood of our Nation’s commercial and natural fisheries. They provide a steady supply of fry (baby fish) to supplement lakes, rivers, streams, and commercial fish farms. Factors such as overfishing and invasive species have and will continue to have a detrimental impact on fisheries, which could collapse if not augmented with hatchery stock. Our team at ICS realizes the vital role hatcheries play in today’s world. They not only help put fish on the table, but also contribute to habitat conservation and enhancing recreation opportunities for anglers today, and into the future.
Aiding the Environment
Hatcheries are essential to maintaining the health and biodiversity of our Nation’s natural fisheries. The introduction of invasive species to lakes, rivers and streams has drastically changed the food web in many aquatic ecosystems. Other impacts, such as increased flash-flooding, sediment, and pollutant inputs from stormwater are also contributing to declines in native fish populations. These and other detrimental factors have resulted in imbalanced ecosystems and contributed to the decline and disappearance of some native species from their habitats.
Supplementing partially matured stock from hatcheries into waterways can assist in rehabilitating fish populations that are below desired levels. Native stock can also be reintroduced into ecosystems where they have been pushed out altogether by pressures from invasive species. Together with decreasing alien species and pollutant inputs, hatcheries are assisting in restoring ecosystem balance and habitat conservation throughout our Nation’s waterways.
According to the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), there are around 50 million anglers in the United States each year. The steady supplement of fry from hatcheries directly contributes to robust, balanced ecosystems, and diverse fishing opportunities. This means larger and healthier fish populations for anglers of all ages to enjoy, while boosting fishing related economies. Sport fishing is part of an industry that supports more than 800,000 jobs (ASA). These include providing, manufacturing, or selling of angling products and services, such as hotels, tackle retailers, boat builders, and restaurants.
Supplying Commercial Fisheries
In 2020, the fishing sector in the United States economy was valued at a whopping 9.62 billion dollars and supported 1.7 million jobs. No small part of that pie is fish and seafood cultivated by aquaculture, which comprises fifty percent of the world’s total fish intake. By providing a steady, quality source of juveniles to commercial fish and shellfish farms; fish hatcheries assist in sustainably and consistently supplying this important source of protein for our nation.
The impact of fish hatcheries on the commercial fisheries does not end there. Just as wild-release fish from hatcheries boost fish populations for anglers to enjoy, they also bolster the commercial fishing industry. According to NOAA, “[a]bout 40 percent of the salmon caught in Alaska and 80 to 90 percent of those caught in the Pacific Northwest start their lives in hatcheries—adding millions to the commercial fishery”. These numbers make it easy to see the vital role fish hatcheries play in the Nation’s economy and food supply.
Providing Quality, Water-Tight Systems
At ICS, we know there is a wide array of species seeded in fish hatcheries; all with differing habitat condition requirements for optimal growth. Having the right amount of dissolved oxygen, balance of pH, maintaining certain temperatures, and salination for saltwater species is crucial for a healthy stock. It is essential for rearing ponds to be water-tight, so that water quality parameters can be accurately measured and properly maintained.
The ICS team has installed a variety of water-tight structures for fish hatcheries. We provide not only high-quality control for field seams, but also battening around concrete structures to ensure a leak-free system. Whether rearing shellfish or finfish, marine or freshwater, above ground or submerged systems, indoors or exposed to the elements; ICS can help to design, source, and install a geomembrane lining system to meet the needs of your stock. Fish on!