Officials are looking into vandalism over the weekend at the Armstrong State Fish Hatchery in McDowell County, that killed an estimated 150,000 rainbow trout. The fish, between 4 to 10 inches, were killed after someone stopped water from flowing into two hatchery raceways, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.
A valve was turned on that allowed fresh water flowing into the hatchery to be diverted away, the McDowell News reports. The fish would have been used for stocking streams and rivers this year and into 2016. The Armstrong Hatchery stocks fish in 12 counties, including Watauga and Avery.
Clean up of the fish took place on Sunday, which included hauling the trout in a dump truck to a hole where they were buried.
A Facebook post on the Commission's page says that Wildlife officials are looking into ways “for meeting fish-stocking schedules as planned, including transferring trout from another Wildlife Commission hatchery and increasing feeding rates to grow other trout faster.” The post goes on to say that “in addition, the Wildlife Commission has been fortunate to receive multiple offers of assistance and trout from other state fish & wildlife agencies, including the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.”
Photos:North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission