Letter: A waste of pandemic relief money

Published: 5/17/2022 7:02:08 AM
Modified: 5/17/2022 7:00:22 AM

NH Fish and Game (NHFG) has a fish hatchery problem. It is being sued by the Conservation Law Foundation, an environmental advocacy organization, for polluting the Merrymeeting River with wastewater from its Powder Mill Fish Hatchery. According to NHFG, they cannot keep pollutant levels within EPA limits because their hatcheries, where staff raise millions of fish each year for “put and take” fishing, are old and in disrepair. Despite taking in millions in fishing license revenue, which is matched by millions from the federal Sport Fishing Restoration Act of 1950, NHFG has somehow not managed to maintain and upgrade the hatcheries appropriately.

Recently NHFG saw an opportunity to receive money for its polluting hatcheries in NH’s share of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. First the department asked for and received $1 million in ARPA funds for a study to rebuild Powder Mill Hatchery. Then last month, they were back, asking for and receiving $55 million more to rebuild two other of the six state hatcheries. Those in power think the unnatural process of stocking farm-raised fish is so important to New Hampshire that it warrants spending a huge chunk of pandemic recovery funding on it. We each have an executive councilor who represents us and approved this expenditure. Find yours at nh.gov and express your outrage that fish hatcheries are getting money that should be used for pandemic relief. NHFG’s hatcheries should be downsized or closed if license sales can’t pay for them.

Linda Dionne



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