We arrived at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery back on May 11th. This hatchery is devoted to the restoration of the endangered Atlantic Salmon to their river habitats in the Northeastern United States.
The entire life cycle is represented at the hatchery. The eggs hatch in February, so we were too late for that, but we did arrive to find 56 fiberglass tanks full of 1" long salmon. At this life stage they are fed nearly constantly with a combination of automatic feeders and hand feeding.
All of those black spots you see in the front tank are Atlantic Salmon. There were about 15,000 fish in each tank!
The food that they eat at this age looks like dust. The biologists constantly monitor the weight of the fish and adjust feeding rates, food size, water flow and temperature, etc. to keep the tanks healthy.
The food is oily and smelly, and we found that if we didn't wear a latex gloves our "feeding hand" would smell like fish food for the rest of the day. So you see a lot of "one-glove" wearing folks at the hatchery!
You can see that both Teri and I are have long-sleeved shirts on under our official volunteer T-shirts. Between the 50-something degree water circulating throughout the hatchery and the cool outdoor air temperatures the hatchery building stays pretty cool, especially first thing in the morning!
We've found the small staff (5 employees) to be friendly and easy to work with. Stay tuned for more from the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery and the coast of Maine.