Pa. Fish and Boat Commission criticized for losing focus
By Bob Frye
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 11:09 p.m.
HARRISBURG – Some state lawmakers think the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has lost its way.
That was made clear when John Arway, executive director of the commission, presented the agency's annual report to the House of Representatives game and fisheries committee at the Capitol on Wednesday.
Arway discussed challenges facing the agency, as well as success it has achieved in implementing parts of its strategic plan. He pointed to the expansion of the mentored youth trout fishing program, sales of multiyear fishing licenses and creation of a voluntary youth fishing license that will bring in $5 of federal revenue for every $1 license purchased as positives.
Legislators, though, had a narrower focus.
“I strongly believe the mission of the commission is to provide opportunities for anglers,” said Rep. Martin Causer of the Potter County, majority chairman of the committee.
That means maximizing trout stockings, lawmakers said. Several said they don't feel the commission understands that.
One, Republican Doyle Heffley of Carbon County, said he's concerned about changes in the listing of Class A streams, which Arway described as “the best of the best” wild trout waters. Fish and Boat Commissioners recently adopted a policy statement that says all waters that qualify as Class A based on wild trout populations — whether stocked previously or not — will be listed as such so they can get all of the protections that designation offers.
Heffley said he's concerned some previously stocked waters might not get fish in the future. The idea that the commission doesn't share that worry is evidence it's being led astray by Trout Unlimited, which he termed a “fringe environmental group.”
Rep. Dave Maloney of Berks County joined that chorus, saying it's a “bunch of ideologues” in Trout Unlimited and on the commission board who are driving the agency in the wrong direction.
“I have deep, deep reservations about the warp speed of classifying streams as Class A,” Rep. Joe Emrick of Northampton County.
Arway denied Trout Unlimited or any group is unduly influencing the commission. He also defended the Class A policy, saying it's not meant to limit trout stockings, but to protect good wild trout fisheries for all anglers.
“It's a conservation and recreation policy,” Arway said.
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.
- Kids turning attention to archery in record numbers
- Frye: Many challenges for deer hunting
- Outdoors notices: March 8
- Frye: Questions remain for Allegheny River walleye
- Outdoor notices: March 1
- Outdoors notebook: Sewickley Creek to be stocked with trout
- Adult mentored hunting program on horizon in Pennsylvania
- Frye: Sunday hunting heats up again
- Searching for shed antlers soars in popularity
- Outdoors notebook: Fish commissioner pushing promotion of carp fishing
- Outdoor notices: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014