Funding restored for Maine salmon hatcheries
Funding restored for Maine salmon hatcheries Last updated: Friday, May 21, 2004WASHINGTON - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has secured $70,000 for Maine's salmon facilities at Green Lake and Craig Brook National Fish Hatcheries, Sen. Olympia Snowe said Thursday.Snowe has been working with the Maine congressional delegation in pressing USFWS to restore this funding, which had been redirected to other projects.USFWS called Snowe on Thursday afternoon and followed up with a letter from Marvin E. Moriarty, regional director, that said: "Through relieving the Fisheries Program of some administrative costs and by using FY 2003 carryover dollars, we were able to find the necessary amount of funds to maintain Maine Atlantic salmon propagation programs supported by the Craig Brook and Green Lake National Fish Hatcheries at planned fiscal year 2004 levels. This action forestalls production reductions proposed in fiscal year 2004."At the beginning of May, the delegation joined together in urging Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to find a way to fund the Green Lake and Craig Brook National Fish Hatcheries.If this funding had not been secured it would have cut hatchery production by 50 percent and eliminated the captive reared broodstock program, and would have affected the ability to do proper genetic work on salmon from rivers that have been listed under the Endangered Species Act. This could have had long-term implications related to the Distinct Population Segment broodstock being held at Craig Brook, Snowe said.In a letter to the USFW the Maine delegation wrote, "While a $70,000 cut seems small to Region 5's overall budget, the impact to Maine's salmon restoration efforts are far reaching. For instance, the Penobscot River salmon returns are now back over 1,000 adults with 300-plus females. Currently 550,000 smolts are stocked on an annual basis to help facilitate this return. With the proposed cuts only 275,000 smolts will be available in fiscal year 2005. The effect of this reduction will be seen in 2007 when adult returns are projected to drop below 300 with less then 80 females. The reduction in spawning females will jeopardize the genetic viability of salmon in the Penobscot River - a river we understand is undergoing a biological review for potential listing under the Endangered Species Act," the May 5 delegation letter said.