A fish farming company conceded defeat Thursday in its quest to raise rainbow trout in a hatchery on a revered northern Michigan stream, signing a deal with the sport fishing group that waged a four-year battle against the operation.
Harrietta Hills Trout Farm LLC began leasing the Grayling Fish Hatchery on the Au Sable River from Crawford County in 2012 with plans to produce 300,000 pounds of rainbow trout a year, up from about 70,000 pounds at present. The company obtained a state permit but was tied up in court by Anglers of the Au Sable, which contended the aquaculture project would pollute the river and harm native trout.
Under a mediated settlement, the Anglers group will buy out the lease for $160,000 and operate the hatchery as a tourism and educational attraction. Visitors will be able to see and feed trout but no commercial fish farming will take place there. Harrietta Hills will shut down its operation by the end of the year.
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