June 25, 2019

Salmon economics

Even the suggestion of closing the salmon hatchery at Grand Lake Stream shows the Baldacci administration’s continuing refusal to listen to the advice of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Instead, the governor seems to listen to the Augusta bean counters.

Baldacci’s blatant disregard for the sportsmen of Maine borders on bizarre. We support 90 percent of the DIF&W budget with our license fees. So now he’s going to take away a crown jewel of Maine angling?

The hatchery at Grand Lake Stream isn’t just a “fish factory.” It is a resource that has evolved over a century, perpetuating a genetic strain of landlocked salmon that is the foundation of the Washington County salmon fisheries. To “gut” this operation is financial suicide for the area, the equivalent of cutting off the head and expecting the body to live.

What does the governor think Washington County guides will do when the salmon fishery collapses? Work at a mill? And what about the camp owners and merchants whose livelihood depends on visitors who come to the area to fish for salmon? That hatchery supports the history, tradition and lifestyle of the area. In Grand Lake Stream, landlocked salmon fishing is the local industry.

Someone should take [Baldacci] for a ride on Big Lake in a Grand Laker canoe and explain Maine history 101. Then explain the economic basics of rural Maine: Tourism, hunting and landlocked salmon fishing.

Jack Gagnon


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