After 90 years, the Department of Natural Resources is beginning to phase out the Avoca State Fish Hatchery in Lawrence County and is set to shut down it down completely by 2016.
Numerous fish hatcheries all over the country are facing a similar fate: decommissioning due to budgetary constraints.
Of the eight fish hatcheries in Indiana, only two have been constructed in the past 40 years and Department of Natural Resources Chief of Fisheries, Bill James says Avoca’s is not worth paying for anymore.
“Avoca is really reaching that point where it’s worn out- it’s no longer cost effective to operate as a state hatchery,” Avoca says. “And it’s not really feasible to reconstruct because there is a limited water supply there, the buildings are very old, and there’s lack of space to expand. You just get to the point where it gets more and more expensive to maintain those old facilities.”
The state’s fish hatcheries are used to stock public waters and improve sport fishing. James says in the Avoca facility’s absence, other fisheries in the state will simply increase their capacity to maintain current fish production.