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Scientists Harvest Bass And Bluegills From Tahoe To Feed Reno's Poor

Largemouth bass
By Young, Glenn K, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Scientists are trying to solve two problems with one fish.

Largemouth bass and bluegills have found a home in parts of Lake Tahoe. The problem is – they don’t belong there.

So what to do?

Scientists at the University of Nevada, Reno are harvesting the fish and feeding the needy in Northern Nevada.

Since May, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada has received 55 pounds of fish filets – mostly bass and bluegills.

Auburn Harrison with Catholic Charities told KNPR's State of Nevada that they received a call from the lead biologist last year offering up the fish.

"They said, 'we have these fish, we don't want them in the lake but we don't want them to go to waste,'" she said.

The fish is pulled out of the lake, cut up, vacuum packed and frozen. After collecting enough, the scientists take it to the charity's St. Vincent Dining Room. 

"We just think it's an incredibly beneficial program on both ends," Harrison said.

The chef at the dining room thaws it out and cooks it up with in a day or two, making it go as far as he can. 

"Even though it's not a huge amount of fish we're getting, we're able to make that go a long way and feed a lot of people who really need the food," Harrison said.

Harrison said they normally get donations of red meat, so fresh fish is a nice change. She also said the homeless they feed like it.

"We've done an unofficial survey of our clients and they like it," she said.

The dining room serves around 550 meals a day, six days a week to Reno's homeless. 


Auburn Harrison, spokeswoman, Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada

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