Connecticut Proposes Hatchery Closure

GUEST BLOG: A Call For Action (Again)

Connecticut anglers have been down this road before, and it’s time to make some noise again. Governor Malloy’s new budget includes a proposal to close the Kensington State Fish Hatchery in Berlin to save $196,000 a year. The argument against this is simple: the recreational revenue generated from fishing throughout Connecticut is significant and the value from fish stockings and unique programs that the Kensington Hatchery supports far outweighs the cost of keeping it open and fully staffed.

Kensington Hatchery is unique because it is responsible for all of Connecticut’s seeforellen brown trout, a special strain of trout that grow exceptionally large. In fact, a 19-pound seeforellen trout raised in the Kensington Hatchery was recently caught in Connecticut’s West Hill Pond and is now the new brown trout state record. These fish are extremely popular and it just so happens that Kensington Hatchery has the only disease-free stock of seeforellens left in the nation. Shutting it down would mean losing the seeforellen strain in Connecticut waters and tossing years of hard work out the window.

seeforellen brown trout
Kensington Hatchery employees stocking huge seeforellen brown trout (photo credit: CT DEEP).

Altogether the Kensington Hatchery produces approximately 50,000 catchable-size trout and 700 surplus broodstock trout annually that are stocked in our most important trout waters. In addition, 250,000 of its trout fry and parr are used annually in programs to enhance sea run trout and wild trout populations.

But this is not just about trout. Approximately 2,000 broodstock Atlantic salmon are produced at Kensington Hatchery and stocked annually into the Naugatuck and Shetucket Rivers, as well as a handful of lakes and ponds. Connecticut’s broodstock salmon fishery is quite popular and attracts anglers from around the Northeast. In fact, it is estimated that Connecticut’s Atlantic salmon fishery is responsible for 5,000 – 7,000 trips per year and those anglers spend a combined $500,000 doing so. If Kensington closes there will be no more broodstock salmon stocked in Connecticut waterways!

Furthermore, more than 500 student classrooms throughout the state are currently part of either “Salmon in the Classroom” or “Trout in the Classroom” programs. These are highly educational and beneficial programs that are run and funded through volunteer cooperation, teachers and students, and CT DEEP, which provides eggs for these programs from the Kensington Hatchery. Educational programs such as these should be encouraged and increased rather than eliminated.

The figures below speak for themselves:

  • 251,000 state residents take 5.4 million fishing trips and spend $198 million per year.
  • 51,000 non-residents take 457,000 fishing trips and spend $45 million per year in CT.
  • Recreational fishing supports over 4,400 jobs in CT.
  • Trout are the most sought after gamefish species in Connecticut attracting approximately 2.1 million fishing trips per year and generating ~$50 million per year in annual expenditures having a net economic impact of $67.5 million per year.
  • Approximately $2.8 million in annual license revenue is generated by trout anglers in Connecticut.
  • Approximately 100 lakes and ponds and over 200 rivers and streams are stocked annually with trout.
  • The overall benefit to cost ratio for Connecticut’s Trout Program is 25 to 1

If you are a Connecticut resident who purchases a fishing license each year and supports seeforellen brown trout, broodstock salmon or the Trout/Salmon in the Classroom program, please consider calling and/or emailing Governor Malloy, as well as your state reps and senator, about keeping the Kensington State Fish Hatchery up and running. Thank you.

Governor Malloy’s contact info
Find your Connecticut legislators

Kierran Broatch blogs at The Connecticut Yankee

7 on “Connecticut Proposes Hatchery Closure

  1. Buddy Roe

    Sort of statement there, “If Kensington closes there will be no more broodstock salmon stocked in Connecticut waterways!”
    Who’s catching all the fish ?

    1. 77M880

      Me, et cetera. Don’t discount that they’re broodstock because I’ve caught native landlocks up north and these broodstock salmon put up just as much of a fight pound for pound as anything out of Sebago. They get just as airborn in spring (40 degree water temp) as anything in Maine, they’ll tail-wrap and try to snap you off in January (34 degree water temp) just like any others in Pulaski, and they’re just as spectacular to watch foraging or porpoising in the fall as anything in Upstate New York. To boot, they taste phenomenal done Alaskan style hot smoked with alder and shared with your best friends. My lifetime fish is still posted on Cabela’s brag board (32 inch, 13.87 pounds) caught on the Cabela’s Fishing Dept’s recommendations and if you show up on the river, I’ll share my secrets (all DEEP legal). I knew Connecticut would kill the Legacy Program eventually so I’m one more family getting out of Connecticut for the better of our future. $200,000 saved? Really? And how long do you think it will take him to spend that, knowing his spending habits? So how is that saved when its not, and the Kennsington Hatchery grounds are leveled to be another suburbia? Oh, Please.

  2. john oleksiak

    Of course, take away the FUN from people who pay there taxes and fund your PAY.. Get real…
    another classless move to stick it to the taxpayers.. How about cleaning up the waste of tax dollars you shell out to people who do nothing…

  3. George Evans

    Typical stupid shortsightedness on Malloy’s part…No Surprise

  4. Dave Vosgien

    Billions of dollars spent by fishermen in CT on licenses and taxes since putting all our fees into the General Fund seem to be forgotten by Malloy and Company. If he thinks that the sportsmen voters of CT are going to forget this kind of nonsense to save $196,000 next year, he is delusional….

  5. 77M880

    Good News: The Governor’s THIRD strike (baseball anyone?) attempt since 2008 to close the Kennsington Hatchery looks to have failed in a unanimous decision of 29 to Zero . Here’s the link to the Hartford Courant’s update.
    There’s also a good link within the article about how they’re saving Parks and Recreation programs too. Seems like if he was anyone else, he would be handcuffed for trying to pull off this kind of theft. No one else in their right mind steels from positive revenue investments.

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