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Hatchery Warrants More Use

MONTANA - Public opinion is being sought on how the Fort Peck fish hatchery is operated and how anglers should help pay for the service.

The state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks believes the resources could be better utilised, says a report in the Billings Gazette. The facility sits virtually empty for several months once the warm water species are stocked in lakes.

"The Fort Peck Hatchery is a modern aquaculture facility," said Chris Hunter, FWP's Fisheries Division chief in Helena. "By any standard, the hatchery has tremendous capacity and is technically sophisticated. Unfortunately, it's also misunderstood, under funded and under used."

The Multi-Species Fish Hatchery opened in May 2006 and is partially funded through a state warm-water fishing stamp. However, the Legislative restrictions restricted mean it can only rear certain warm-water fish and Chinook salmon and it cannot raise trout. The faciltiy is capable of raising number of fresh water game and sport species. If production were to expand, then an advisory committee would be established to develop requests.

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