River Steward Disappointed To See Salmon Program End

08/15/12 4:04PM By Ric Cengeri

The recent decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department to discontinue a program to stock Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River has not met with universal support.

The department cites low return rates as part of the reason.

State Representative David Deen, who is the Connecticut River Steward, says he's frustrated by the move.

"I would have stayed the course but it wasn't my decision to make in terms of the salmon program," Deen says.

Officials decided to close salmon hatcheries in North Chittenden and Bethel. The Bethel hatchery was the largest producer of Atlantic salmon in the program, but Deen says damage done by Tropical Storm Irene ended its usefulness.

"The cost of retrofitting that facility and bringing it back to produce salmon, which is a very demanding, highly technical operation, just was beyond the financial resources available to the service," Deen says.

While Deen would like to see the salmon program continued, he does agree with Fish and Wildlife's decision to redirect that funding to make the Connecticut River more productive for other species, including shad and American eels.

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