Q&A: Meet Francina Martinez-Valencia, Lisboa Springs Hatchery Manager
Francina Martinez-Valencia, Lisboa Springs Hatchery Manager, works as the first-ever woman hatchery manager for the state. A Taos native, she started out as a fish culturist back in November 2007. She has been with the department for 11 years.
In an interview with New Mexico Wildlife magazine editor Alexa J. Henry, she talks about her work day and what it takes to manage a hatchey. The hatchery, which is home to about 150,000-200,000 fish, raises rainbow trout for the Pecos, Las Vegas and Albuquerque areas.
A typical day can vary from anything from office work, answering emails to feeding fish, cleaning our raceways to keep our water clear, to working on pumps, filters and any other variety of equipment we have here at the hatchery. ?What do you like most about your job?
What I like most here about the job here at Lisboa Springs is that we are never bored. No days is exactly the same as the other. With the amount of equipment we have here something new is always going on, something needs fixing or working on. No two days are alike. Every day is a bit of an adventure. ?Have you always wanted to work at a hatchery?
I grew up fishing with my dad as a young girl. One of our favorite things to do was go to Eagle Nest, go fishing and on our way to Taos he’d circle around to the Red River hatchery. We’d stop and look at the fish at the show pond. I kind of grew out of it in my teenage years and while I was working at a hatchery in Alamosa, Colorado during my college years there at Adams State College. I got an off-campus work/study job working at the native aquatic species restoration facility there in town. I fell in love with aquaculture and working with different species and decided that aquaculture was what I wanted to do as a career but back in New Mexico and contributing to my home state. ?What do you need to do to work at a hatchery? What should you study?
Although someone may not have a formal degree in fisheries or aquaculture, years of experience count towards the application process. So, if someone was lucky enough to work at a hatchery for a summer after high school and continue their career down that path, those opportunities are open to them as well. It’s the experience, it’s time on the job, your nose in the water—that’s the kind of stuff we need to be able to operate a hatchery successful.* ?Why are hatcheries so important?
Our hatcheries are important to provide the best angling opportunities to our sportsmen and women in New Mexico. We want to make sure every chance you have to go out and go fishing is enjoyable as possible to catch a number of fish, for catch and release, or catch and take home for dinner. We want to make sure you have your best chance to catch a fish and enjoying the outdoors. ?What do you like to fish for?
Growing up I always fished for rainbow trout and kokanee. I haven’t had a lot of chance to do warm water fishing but I’m hoping I’ll have the chance to go out and try more bass and walleye fishing. Growing up it was always about been cold water species.
* Job requirements are an associate’s degree in Agricultural Science, Aquaculture, Animal Science or Wildlife Science, or other closely related field and two (2) years in farm or ranch related experience including basic construction, electrical, and plumbing skills, heavy and farm equipment operation/maintenance, fisheries and/or wildlife habitat management. Substitutions Apply.