|Champion, PA — Results from a Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) stocked trout cost study (appendices) show that the agency spends approximately $2.17 to produce an average adult trout, an amount less than that charged by commercial trout hatcheries. Overall, the Commission spends approximately $12.4 million per year to provide more than 6 million of the popular game fish, including fingerlings and adults.
“This is the first time we’ve undertaken a comprehensive examination of all the costs associated with our trout program,” said Executive Director Doug Austen, Ph.D. “This includes examining the expenditures from all bureaus as they relate to the trout program, such as engineering, law enforcement and fisheries management, and factoring in indirect costs like accounting and human resources.”
Staff made their presentation to commissioners during a Fisheries Committee meeting at the agency’s quarterly meeting, held April 20-21 at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
Dr. Austen said that the trout program production costs are competitive with retail prices at commercial hatcheries. The average price of similar sized adult trout from three Pennsylvania commercial trout farms was $2.57, compared to the PFBC cost of $2.17. The PFBC’s overall cost to produce, stock and manage an average adult trout is $2.73. Austen noted that this price includes delivery costs and other management costs the PFBC included in its analysis, such as habitat improvement efforts, environmental permit reviews and creel surveys.
Each season the Commission raises about 3.5 million 11-inch adult trout for stocking, 2 million to 4 million fingerlings for the put-grow-take fishery, and 1.2 million fingerlings for cooperative nurseries. It also raises about 20,000 trophy trout consisting of 2-3-year-old brood stock and 9,000 trophy golden rainbow trout. About $9.3 million (77 percent) of the total costs are spent on the adult trout portion of the program.
During the formal commission meeting on Tuesday, commissioners voted to add the Rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica cylindrical) and Snuffbox (Epioblasma triquetra) mussels to the Pennsylvania endangered species list and the Sheepnose mussel (Plethobasus cyphyus) to the state threatened species list. Commissioners voted to defer consideration of the Salamander mussel (Simpsonaias ambigua) and Rayed Bean mussel (Villosa fabalis).
Among other formal actions, Commissioners also approved the publication of notice of proposed rulemaking to reduce creel limits for American shad and river herring. The proposals reduce the creel limit to three for American shad and 10 for river herring in the West Branch Delaware River and the entire Delaware River mainstream from the confluence of the East and West Branches downstream to the Commodore Barry Bridge. A 10 fish per day creel limit also will be imposed for river herring on the Lehigh River and its tributaries upstream of the first dam in Easton, Pa., and on the Schuylkill River and its tributaries upstream of the I-95 Bridge. If adopted on final rulemaking, the changes would take effect Jan. 1, 2010.
Several boating facility grants were authorized, including $230,000 to Monroe Township, Snyder County; $150,000 to the North Branch Land Trust, Luzerne County; $142,000 to the Borough of Ohioville, Beaver County; and $75,000 to Luzerne County.
More details of these actions can be found on the commission’s website at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm. The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities.