Editorial: Hats off to hatcheries
By Mari-Len De Guzman
The work that pulbic hatcheries do is critically important not just to provide for the angling community but more importantly, to promote the ecological balance and help restore and maintain fish populations in local waters.
This is something that most, if not all, readers of Hatchery International are aware of. But I think it’s important to recognize the tireless and dedicated staff at hatcheries across the world and remind them that their work matters.
One way we are showcasing the important work that enhancement hatcheries do is by telling their stories through the pages of this publication. In May/June 2021 issue, we feature two of these hatcheries, one in Texas, U.S.A., raising the endangered Southern flounder, and the second one in British Columbia, Canada, which has orchestrated the successful return of Sockeye salmon in the Okanagan Lake. Both species are holding a special place in the hearts of their respective local communities.
More than the commercial objective of providing healthy and robust smolts to fish farms, hatcheries also serve a sacred purpose, one that will form an essential part in this industry’s sustainability objectives. And sustainability is, after all, the common denominator that binds all aquaculture activities, especially in this 21st century.
Whether you are a hatchery raising smolts for commercial aquaculture production or for stock enhancements, the endgoal is to alleviate the negative impacts of overfishing and restore and revitalize fish populations, whether in the oceans or in local lakes and rivers.
Hatcheries, and the work that they do, need to be part of any public information campaign that aims to promote and elevate public awareness and perception of aquaculture. Hatcheries have the connection to the local communities. They can help instigate the grassroots mobilization needed to raise awareness about fish farming and all the socio-economic benefits it has to offer.
Many aquaculture professionals in this industry began their careers as hatchery technicians or as a volunteer at their local hatchery. Hatcheries are an excellent training ground for future industry practitioners. The opportunities many hatcheries provide for school tours or student visits are priceless and can serve as a catalyst for the youth to consider a career in aquaculture. And the latest data indicate that skills shortage is a real issue in this industry.
We want to continue to highlight the important work of hatcheries by sharing their stories of success, as well as their trials and tribulations. More than to educate, stories also need to inspire, to trigger a sense of purpose and instigate a sharing of ideas. That’s what we aim for with our stories and profiles.
If you have a great hatchery development story you’d like to share, Hatchery International will be happy to tell it for you.