Practical Hatchery Management of Warmwater Fishes

Chapter 12: Distribution


Hatcheries not only produce fish, but in most cases also distribute them to the various user groups. What is distributed might range from eggs to broodstock. How far they are distributed might be only to another location on the hatchery or shipping the fish halfway around the world. How the fish are distributed depends on the life stage of the fish involved, the number of animals to be transported, the distance involved, and accessibility to where the fish are to be delivered.

Distribution schedules should be prepared in conjunction with those going to receive the fish. The hatchery manager should contact the individuals that are to receive the fish, confirming the type of fish, the number and size of fish to be delivered, the delivery site, and schedule a convenient time for both the hatchery staff and the recipients for the delivery. This needs to be done weeks ahead of the possible delivery date as the hatchery staff may need time to harvest the fish and prepare them for transportation as well as to ensure that the transportation equipment is available and in proper working order.

Fish transportation systems can be grouped into two basic categories: open or closed systems, each with advantages and disadvantages. Open systems allow a continuous input of oxygen, and some gases such as CO2 to be driven off. Such systems need supplemental oxygen to carry any significant weight of fish for an extended period of time. Closed systems do not allow gas exchange and can be supersaturated with oxygen, but CO2 will build up, affecting water quality.