© Star photo by Frank Gale
A portion of the Northern Harvest Smolt hatchery in Stephenville is shown.
A fish hatchery in Stephenville has increased production this spring by another half-million fish.
Northern Harvest Smolt hatchery manager Shaun Macleod said 2.6 million salmon smolt have been transported to fish farms in the Coast of Bays area already this spring, and that number should increase to three million by early next week.
Macleod said that’s dependent on their well boat returning by Sunday of this week. If it gets in on time, those fish will be transported from the plant to the boat on Sunday and Monday.
The company's well boat is used to transfer the S-1 salmon smolt, which grow to about 190 grams in weight. Trucks transport the fish to the well boat, which docks at Port aux Basques.
Macleod said the process goes a lot faster when the hatchery is able to ship the fish by the well boat, a large boat purchased out of Norway and operated by a five-person crew.
Depending on size, the boat can carry 150,000 to 200,000 fish in a run with a two-day turnaround.
Another 750,000 fish will be shipped out in the fall, bringing total production this year to 3.75 million, making for a busy spring at the hatchery.
Overall, said Macleod, the hatchery is operating well and the cycle of hatching new fish and growing them to the size needed at the farms will continue.