MILFORD, N.H. --
A break-in at a fish hatchery in Milford resulted in the deaths of 15,000 rainbow trout, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department said.
Officials said the break-in occurred at the Milford Fish Hatchery on North River Road at about 2:30 p.m. on Saturday.
The fish were killed when a water pump was shut off. Foreman Josh Borgeson said that triggered an alarm, but workers had to search to find the source of the problem. The pump house switch was low on the checklist because it's usually never touched, he said.
With inflows to the hatchery reduced by 1,100 gallons per minute, the fish were slowly suffocating, Borgeson said.
"I'd say within another 10 to 15 minutes, every fish in here would have been dead," he said.
Technicians were able to find the problem and turn the water back on before all the fish were killed. Officials said more fish could still die from shock in the next two weeks.
The Fish and Game Department said the fish were to be stocked in waterways in the spring.
"The pump station is located in a popular recreational area, so we are hopeful that anyone who has any information regarding this incident will come forward," conservation Officer Lt. Craig Morrocco said in a statement.
Anyone with information is asked to call the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department at 603-271-3361 or the Milford Police Department at 603-249-0630. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the Operation Game Thief 24-hour hot line at 800-344-4262, or report online at www.HuntNH.com/OGT
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