JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - There's a new arrival in Jasper County; an arrival of millions of sport fish, that is.
Today, officials celebrated the opening of the John D Parker East Texas state fish hatchery.
"It's a result of some extraordinary collaboration, teamwork, gifts- very generous ones, many contributions by individuals that helped brought us to this point today in which we have the opportunity to build a world-class hatchery befitting a world-class fishery befitting a world-class region of the state," said Texas Parks & Wildlife executive director Carter Smith.
The purpose is to offer increased production capability and to assist in the growing demand of sport fish fingerlings, such as channel catfish, blue catfish and blue gill sunfish.
Smith says with the new hatchery, they'll be able to produce 4 to 5 million fish a year.
"One of the two reasons we have such fabulous fishing is because of facilities like this and this will only make it better and enhance that," said Ralph Duggins, TPW Vice Chairman.
The hatchery is named after the late Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioner John Parker, who dedicated his life to conservation.
Parker passed away in January 2009.
Today, his widow Barbara cut the ribbon that led to the entrance.
"I want to thank you, and tell you, that this was one of his dreams. It's almost like closing an unfinished, or finishing an unfinished chapter in his life," said Barbara, addressing the crowd.
A public viewing of the hatchery will take place Friday, April 27 from noon to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
It's located below the Sam Rayburn Reservoir.
It will open to the public once construction is completed.