Q. What is a fish hatchery?
A. A fish hatchery, in the simplest of terms, is a facility in which fish are raised. It provides a safe haven for artificial breeding, hatching and rearing fish through their early life stages. By maintaining proper water temperature and oxygen levels, and providing adequate food supplies and safety from predators, a hatchery provides an optimum environment for fish eggs to develop and hatch.
Q. Where is the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery?
A. The hatchery is located on the Abegweit First Nation reservation in Scotchfort, Prince Edward Island?
Q. What types of fish are hatched at the Abegweit Biodiversity Enhancement Hatchery?
A. Currently, the hatchery focuses on brook trout and Atlantic salmon, both of which are indigenous to Prince Edward Island. In the future, it may diversify into other species, such as the striped bass.
Q. What exactly does this hatchery do?
A. The hatchery replenishes fish stocks in Island waters. To do this, it takes brood stock – a female and a male – from Island waterways during spawning season and harvests the eggs and sperm for artificial breeding before releasing the fish back into their environment. Under controlled conditions, the eggs develop and hatch, providing hatchery with thousands of fish to release into the same river from which the brood stock was taken.
Q. How long does it take to grow the fish?
A. It takes approximately five months from the time the eggs hatch until the fish are large enough to release into the wild.
Q. How big are the fish when they are released into rivers and streams?
A. The fish can be anywhere between ½ gram to 5 grams
Q. How many fish does the hatchery release into Island waterways each year?
A. The hatchery releases close to 100,000 fish into Island rivers and streams each year, split fairly equally between brook trout and salmon.
Q. Who decides which rivers will receive fish stocks in any given year?
A. The province and the Wildlife Federation determine which waterways are restocked, and provide direction to the hatchery. The decision is based on a number of factors, including the number existing stock in the rivers, the popularity of the location for fishing, and the health of the water environment.
Q. Doesn’t the hatchery interfere with the natural life cycle of the fish?
A. The hatchery does not interfere with the natural fish life cycle; rather it simply provides a safe and nurturing environment for the egg fertilization and development phases as well as the fish’s early growth period. These same phases happen in the wild, but with very few survivors.
Q. What is the hatchery’s involvement with the Fish Friends program?
A. The hatchery is pleased to provide eggs to schools participating in the popular Fish Friends program. Hatchery staff also work closely with the teachers and students throughout the growing and releasing process.
Q. Is the hatchery open to the public?
A. The hatchery believes that education is an important component of its work. It regularly opens its doors to schools, veterinary students and others interested in the important work done at the facility.