Deciscion to close two hatcheries reversed
By Bob Frye
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013, 6:18 p.m.
A maybe but not a guarantee.
That's what was behind the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's decision Friday to reverse course and keep two trout hatcheries open.
In January, the agency had announced plans to shutter its Oswayo and Bellefonte hatcheries in Potter and Centre counties, respectively, by the end of 2014. That would have cut about 750,000 trout — about 22 percent — from the commission's annual stocking allocation of 3.2 million.
Executive director John Arway said then that the cutback was necessary because $9 million needed to be trimmed from the budget to account for new state and federally mandated health care and pension costs. Closing the hatcheries would have saved $2 million.
Commissioners praised his courage for recommending the move.
Friday, though, after months of hearing from state lawmakers upset with the plan, they unanimously changed their minds.
The board committed to keeping the hatcheries running until July 2015 while agency staff and lawmakers look for funding to support them longer term, said board president Steve Ketterer of Harrisburg.
What kind of help — if any — lawmakers might provide is unknown.
“They're not guaranteeing anything; it's important that I tell you that,” Ketterer said. “But they said they wanted to give it a try. They just said, ‘Let's sit down and talk and see what may be available out there,' which was very positive.”
State Rep. Martin Causer, the Potter County Republican whose district includes the Oswayo facility — and who initiated an effort to explore merging the Fish and Boat Commission with the Game Commission after the hatchery decision came to light — praised the board's decision.
He also left no doubt he thought the plan was a bad one from the get-go.
“I am glad the commission saw the error of its ways and decided to keep these hatcheries open,” he said. “Closing two hatcheries in virtually the same area of the state would have resulted in decreased stocking in area waterways, and that would have had a devastating impact on local fishing opportunities and the local economy.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Area anglers recorded many top-ranked catches from 2013
- Outdoor notices: April 19
- Study shows Pennsylvania bears like to put down roots
- Frye: Commission discusses ‘second opening day effect’
- Fishing report: Trout hitting well in most locations
- Game Commission sets doe tag allocation
- Outdoors notebook: Pair of youth-oriented events slated