Human error blamed for deaths of 50,000 fish |

Human error blamed for deaths of 50,000 fish

The Associated Press
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) ” Wildlife officials blamed human error for the deaths of 50,000 rainbow trout at the Colorado Division of Wildlife hatchery in Durango over the weekend.

A seasonal worker apparently forgot to reopen a water valve that supplies fresh water to the trout, leading to the deaths Sunday night, the Durango Herald reported in Wednesday editions.

The valve had been closed for regular cleaning of the south raceway, the newspaper reported. The 10-inch, 15-month-old trout, which were supposed to be released to area waterways, died of oxygen starvation.

The employee has been dismissed, DOW spokesman Joe Lewandowski said.

About 34,000 trout survived and remain in good health, said hatchery manager Toby Mourning.

River stocking should not be significantly affected because other hatcheries will replace the dead fish with their surplus fish, Lewandowski said.

Given that it costs the Durango hatchery $1.09 per fish to raise trout to a catchable size of 10 inches, the deaths may have cost the DOW about $54,500.

The hatchery was scheduled to release 156,620 fish this year.

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