Former Wrangellite goes into business with "instant hatchery"

Some Wrangell residents may remember Tod Jones. He was a Wrangell resident for about 20 years, from the '70s to the '90s. He first moved to the area to help start a fish hatchery in the Burnett Inlet with the Alaska Aquaculture Company. Wrangell resident Brian Ashton was his former operations manager, Jones mentioned. When the hatchery closed down around 1995, Jones moved away.

After leaving Wrangell, Jones said he spent four years in Israel, then came back to the United States and settled down in Oregon. He and a business partner, Roger Warren, then started a company called Redd Zone. Warren is a retired hatchery manager who has worked all over Oregon, Jones said. They both them are inventors, as well. Jones invented a salmon egg planter that, according to their website, has planted more salmon eggs than any other device. Warren is the inventor of the "Warren Water Broom," which helps keep hatchery ponds clean.

"We always talked about putting a hatchery into a shipping container," Jones said.

The "instant hatchery" that Redd Zone is creating is unique, Jones said. Incubators are built into a standard shipping container for fish eggs. These incubators are two-foot cubes, he described, and each can hold around 150,000 eggs. The instant hatchery is also unique in that once the eggs hatch, the fry can be piped out of the incubators without ever being touched by humans. The less interaction with people that fish have, the healthier they can grow.

"The more you handle them, the more stressed they are," Jones said.

The biggest innovations the instant hatchery brings are its affordability and mobility, Jones said. The instant hatchery is a more compact version of a typical fish hatchery.

"Usually a facility is built and engineers get involved," he said. "This is quick and fast."

Redd Zone sold its first unit in October. The Skokomish tribe, in Washington state, bought a 40-foot container with 36 incubators. The size of the Redd Zone units can range from 10 to 53 feet.

More information about Redd Zone can be found at reddzone.net.

 

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