species recovery efforts.
Innovation and Value
Department of Conservation hatcheries are operated with the overriding mission of serving the public with a quality product in an efficient manner. Commitments to cost-containment, research, innovation and fish health are critical components of the Department’s hatchery program. Fish are typically produced in Department hatcheries at costs well below the cost of purchasing fish from commercial sources. However, fish are purchased in limited quantities in a few cases where fish are available commercially at a lower cost than they can be produced in a Department facility.
Department staff has a long history of hatchery innovation with new efforts currently underway. Department personnel are on the cutting edge of fish culture and hatchery operations. From developing spawning and rearing techniques for pallid sturgeon, to examining strains of rainbow trout to enhance hatchery performance, survival and growth after stocking, developing and enhancing fish culture techniques is a real and growing strength of the Department’s hatchery system.
Department hatcheries are also setting the standard in efforts to ensure fish health and to limit the spread of fish diseases and invasive species. Facilities and equipment are cleaned and maintained to exacting standards and protocols. Water used in fish culture is filtered and treated to remove invasive organisms such as zebra mussels and prevent their spread. New protocols and procedures are shared with Missouri’s commercial hatchery operators to assist them in efforts to maintain fish health and control invasive species.
A Strong Angling Future
The future is bright and promising. Using state dollars to match Sport Fish Restoration Act funds generated through the purchase of fishing and boating equipment by anglers and other citizens, aging Department hatcheries are undergoing a series of improvements and updates. Federal Sport Fish Restoration Act funds cover up to 75 percent of construction costs and are also used to fund hatchery staffing and operations costs, lake and stream management efforts and access development statewide. The purchase of daily trout tags and annual trout permits covers much of the year-to-year cost of raising trout.
As anglers and biologists look to the future, recent and ongoing hatchery enhancements will help to ensure that stocking continues to serve as an important tool in the management of fish populations. Department hatcheries will provide the proper numbers and sizes of the selected fish species needed to establish balanced fisheries, to supplement recruitment where fishing pressure is highest, to maintain