Maintaining a continuous stock of quality broodfish is a crucial step in producing the caliber of fish on which Mt. Parnell Fisheries has built their reputation. Broodfish are first chosen when they are one year old and are culled several times before they are placed in a spawning pond. Less than 0.01% of the fish harvested at Mt. Parnell are considered as future broodstock.
Producing quality fish at a facility that includes approximately 250 outdoor culture ponds, 50 broodfish ponds and a 40 tank recirculating aquaculture system depends upon great attention to detail and a dedicated work force. The entire 500 acre campus requires care 365 days a year and several employees are on call 24 hours a day in case of an alarm call at the hatchery.
Depending on the time of year, employees work in various facets of production which can be broken down to outdoor production, indoor production and preparation of fish for shipment. Outdoor production consists of broodfish selection and care, spawning/stocking, pond management, and harvesting; indoor production is conducted within our recirculating aquaculture system; and preparing fish for shipment involves treating, grading, sorting, sizing and counting fish.
The fish at Mt. Parnell typically spawn from about mid-April until early July. Most of the broodfish will spawn several times in this period. Spawning is carried out by the pond spawning method or the heated pool spawning method although in both cases the desired end result is to have fertilized eggs on the spawning mats.
Before a group of fish can be considered customer-ready, several months of careful monitoring must be carried out to optimize the quantity and quality of the fish. Ponds are managed for variables such as fish density, fish health, feed consumption, water quality, fertilization, algae, and aquatic weeds. Carefully balancing these parameters will result in a quality product for our customers. After it is determined that there is customer demand for a variety of fish and a pond is chosen, preparations for harvest begin.