Employees Will Still Be Busy If Dundee State Fish Hatchery Temporarily Closes

Employees Will Still Be Busy If Dundee State Fish Hatchery Temporarily Closes

<font size=2> <P>After more than 80 years, the state's largest fish hatchery is preparing to temporarily suspend operations.</P> <P>The move is being prompted by the drought, but managers say the lack of rain will not leave hatchery employees searching high and dry for work.</P></font>

starting Monday, workers here will begin preparations.

"We're gonna start taking the catfish we have here on the hatchery... the larger ones will be moved to Possum Kingdom Hatchery and the smaller fish will be moved to the new East Texas Hatchery near Jasper," says Dundee State Fish Hatchery Manager Dennis Smith.

But this facility has more than just catfish.

Most of its 97 ponds contain striped bass and hybrid striped bass... fish that will have to be harvested at other freshwater state hatcheries.

"We're making a trade-off. They're gonna raise the stripers and hybrids but that's gonna leave them fewer ponds for large mouth bass," says Smith.

And according to Smith, once operations are temporarily halted employees here will still work.

It will just be at the nearest fish hatchery... more than 100 miles away.

"My technicians are gonna rotate back and forth to Possum Kingdom. They'll travel, spend the week down there and come home. It's a hardship on them. I hate that we have to do it but it's the situation that we're in. It's what we have to do," explains Smith.

That is... until the area receives a substantial amount of rain.

According to officials, Dundee Fish Hatchery's eight employees will also work on maintenance projects if the facility temporarily closes.

That closure date is set for March 26th, the day spring harvesting at hatchery is set to begin.

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