Issues and Trends in Public Fish Hatchery Improvement Projects

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 11:40 AM
Marriott Ballroom A (The Marriott Little Rock)
Thomas Johnson , Fisheries Design Center, HDR Engineering Inc., Springfield, IL
Scott Stuewe , Fisheries Design Center, HDR Engineering Inc., Springfield, IL
The renovation and modernization of public fish hatcheries involves many biological and engineering issues including planning and design requirements, construction, operational testing and training, high costs and significant total project execution time frames.   Case-history examples from a variety of state and federal fish hatchery improvement projects will used to highlight issues and trends in public hatchery design and construction.   Imperiled fish species and a variety of aquatic animals have been added to the mixture of traditional sport species propagated in public hatcheries and provide new design challenges. Natural resource agencies continue to incorporate science-based decisions in the propagation and use of aquatic animal including genetics, biosecurity, animal health and controlled environments to produce high quality aquatic animals that meet strict product requirements.   These factors have impacted facility improvement projects significantly.   Other important factors impacting facility design include water conservation, energy reduction, labor and operational savings and discharge permit compliance.  

There continues to be a trend in public fish hatcheries toward more intensification and control of rearing systems by application of a variety process water treatment technologies that include dissolved gas management, screening and filtration, disinfection and temperature management.   Public hatcheries are employing indoor recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) technology to provide improved environmental control, water conservation, pollution control and energy reduction.  Facility improvement projects also include the use of modern communication and computer systems that provide process monitoring, alarm, and control functions.  Specialized systems that provide automated feeding, grading, harvest and tagging of propagated aquatic animals are commonly included.    Extensive pond production systems have evolved over time include improved harvest / water control structures, membrane liners, modern aeration and mixing systems, water quality monitoring, predator exclusion, water reuse and effluent discharge treatment.  

The case histories presented provide insight into the issues impacting the modernization of public fish hatcheries and the challenges of meeting the vital role that these facilities play in the management of aquatic resources.