EDITORIAL: Rebuild the hatchery
An early morning fire destroyed the incubation room and other infrastructure at the Crystal Lake Hatchery last week. The structural loss was valued at an estimated $3 million by the facility manager, Loren Thompson. The fish stock losses were pegged at over a million dollars in value to both the commercial and sport fisheries, which benefit from the annual releases from the hatchery.
The State of Alaska self-insures its loss and rebuilding the incubation facility is not a given in these tight budget times for the state.
However, it doesn’t take much computing to determine that the payback for rebuilding hatchery buildings should have a huge cost to benefit ratio.
Hatchery stocks released by the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association under a contract with the Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game are valued at millions of dollars to both the commercial and sport fishing fleets in Southeast Alaska.
We hope community leaders, citizens and commercial and sport fishing fleets will lobby the legislature, the Dept. of Fish and Game and the SSRAA to work together to secure funds to rebuild the hatchery facilities that went up in smoke last Tuesday morning.
The funds spent to rebuild will be paid back in huge multiples as fishers harvest the fish released annually from Crystal Lake Hatchery.