Despite shutdown, the Spawn must go on
BY MICHAEL JOHNSON
Apparently no one told the fish there’s a government shutdown in progress. Spawning on Lake Sakakawea has begun and state and federal employees are busily gathering fish eggs at the Garrison National Fish Hatchery in Riverdale.
Sean Henderson, a cold water biologist, is one of the essential employees at the national fish hatchery. He was busy pouring eggs into incubator jars on Wednesday. While the furlough may have some projects stopped across the country, it doesn’t stop the gathering of precious Chinook salmon during the spawn, a three week period typically in October.
"It’s based on their biological clock," Henderson said.
So shut down or not, the spawn will go on. While there may have been fewer U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFW) employees on hand, Henderson said the process has been going flawlessly thanks to the partnership between USFW and the North Dakota Game and Fish.
Salmon are gathered using an electro-shock method in boats on Lake Sakakawea. They are then dispatched, weighed, their eggs are removed, their organs are looked over and a sample of blood is removed for testing. Their meat is sold to groups that are contracted to take it.