Hatcheries + Stewardship = Better Coastal Fishing

OA18_Coastal Hatcheries@2x.jpgSavvy saltwater anglers know that great fishing involves more than just stocking fish from hatcheries—stocking alone will not succeed without good habitat and effective regulations. Yet decades of data document how state hatcheries are a prime reason popular game fish have come back from depletion to abundance. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department operates three saltwater hatcheries in Texas that spawn, raise and release our most recreationally important fish—red drum, spotted seatrout and southern flounder. Annually, this stock enhancement program produces 25 million juvenile fish to be released into our bays. By releasing juvenile fish into the wild, we supplement natural populations to help benefit anglers.

In recent years, flounder stock enhancement has become a priority. The decline of flounder in the last three decades has prompted new fishing regulations and efforts to help increase its population. To date the hatchery program has stocked over 378,000 juvenile flounder along the Texas coast and plans to do more in coming years.

With our partners at the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) and through other various donations, the department has begun constructing new flounder larvae culture buildings at Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson and at the CCA Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi. These new facilities will allow the hatcheries to culture flounder larvae nearly year-round and increase production capacity.

Through this increased production, along with habitat conservation and science-based fishery management, Texas anglers should see a brighter future for flounder fishing on the coast.