JEROME, Idaho – Vandalism and theft has prompted an earlier gate closure time at a Magic Valley fish hatchery.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said on Thursday that the Hagerman State Fish Hatchery now has new gate closure times, effective immediately.

The new gate closure time – right after sunset – means there will be no public access to the hatchery after the sun goes down.

Up until now, for the past several years, the gates have closed at 10 p.m., but vandalism and theft at the site had prompted the earlier closure, according to the department.

“We realize that visitors have been able to remain on hatchery grounds after sunset in the past” Hatchery Manager Joe Chapman said in a statement released by Fish and Game, “but to protect the state’s investment in rearing fish for anglers we need to start restricting access once it becomes dark.”

People will still have several hours during daylight to visit the hatchery grounds. Fish and Game said the hatchery, located at 1060 State Fish Hatchery Road, about four miles south of Hagerman on U.S. Highway 30, will remain open to the public seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.

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