11/14/12 In summer 2013, about 5,000 catfish will earn release from federal prison in Terre Haute.  That’s right, catfish.

In a partnership between the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, inmates at Terre Haute’s Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) will raise channel catfish for DNR’s new urban fishing program and walleyes for selected northern Indiana lakes.

The cooperative project serves two purposes—increasing fishing opportunities for Indiana anglers and providing education and long-term training for inmates.

Under the program, the fish will be hatched at DNR facilities and then moved to the prison, where they will be grown to stocking size and then released into Indiana waters.

A ceremony to dedicate the partnership will be Thursday, Nov. 15, at 9:30 a.m. EST at the FCC. DNR and prison officials will be on hand for a ribbon cutting and to transfer the 5,000 catfish to the prison. Twelve lakes in Indiana’s urban areas will be stocked with these fish in summer 2013.

In addition to fish, DNR will provide technical assistance and all fish feed. The Bureau of Prisons will provide all labor and infrastructure.  The Terre Haute prison dedicated an indoor fish-growing and aquaponics facility in fall 2011 as part of a larger initiative to teach inmates farm science skills.

The first walleye stocking from the prison program will take place in fall 2013.

The DNR and BOP have drafted a two-year implementation plan, with expectations that the partnership will be long-term.

The release of the 5,000 catfish will play a key role in supporting one of DNR’s newest initiatives, the urban fishing program, known as Go FishIN in the City. The goal of the program is to make fishing more available to residents in Indiana cities.