EAST MACHIAS – The Downeast Salmon Federation’s goal is to provide the most natural hatchery product to prepare fish to go into the wild. But that’s not all they do, they educate people along the way.
Assistant hatchery manager Rachel Gorich said, “Right now we have about 186,000 Atlantic salmon. They’re in the egg stage… The alevin stage right now.”
Gorich said they pump straight river water so anything that happens in the river happens inside the hatchery. “They’re raised inside black tanks so their colors aren’t influenced by the tank color.”
The facility tries to mimic everything the river has to offer.
“It’s’ what they’re supposed to be in. Every January sometimes it’s into February we get a new batch, and we’ll keep these ones until November when it’s time to stock them into the river and they’ll be put into the river throughout the East Machias watershed,” said Gorich.
Throughout the year they give tours to anybody who is interested in learning more about the hatchery. “We get people who just seen our sign and are curious to know what the Downeast Federation was,” said Gorich.
School groups and other facilities like the Maine Veterans Home take trips and can get hands-on experience.
MVH Activites supervisor Olivia Kalloch said, “It’s been a really great opportunity to keep the residents connected to the community and things that they use to be passionate about before they moved into the veterans home.”
Veteran Robert W. Hall said, “It’s very educational and I think it’s very positive that we can do that.”
People can also volunteer to clip the adipose fins off the fish. “They’ll come in and they’ll sit there and clip some wings and you have a good conversation. The biggest thing is how much community involvement we have over time,” said Gorich.