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Virginia trout producers saw their losses grow from 224,000 to 394,000 fish, mostly due to predators. Plemmons cited herons as just one problem predator. “We’re seeing an increasing number of eagles,” he said. “We have four farms, and every operation has their resident eagles. Also mink and otters seem to be on the increase. And we’re seeing an increasing number of bears visit our farms.”
Trout farmers fence streams and ponds, and Plemmons said they’ve added electric fences in some places. But many times a bear just crashes through a fence or climbs a tree to get over it. And eagles are federally protected.
“We’re not like other farmers, where we can legally remove our predators,” Plemmons said. “We cannot kill eagles. We can get damage permits to remove bears, but that’s not easy. They’re nocturnal and range widely.”
Media: Contact Plemmons at 540-997-5461 or Norm Hyde, VFBF communications, at 804-290-1146.
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