Sunday, June 14, 2015

Number Of Co-op Nurseries Climbing In Pennsylvania

By Bob Frye

Last year, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission set a goal of increasing the number of cooperative nurseries around the state. 
It has made some progress.
Co-ops are hatcheries run by sportsmen. The commission supplies them with fingerlings; sportsmen raise the fish at their own expense and stock them in waters open to public fishing.
Most raise trout, though a few that do steelhead and even warmwater species.
Last year, 145 organizations ran 160 nurseries around the state, said Brian McHail, the commission's co-op nursery program manager. 
Five more have come on since, and three others are close, and preliminary talks are ongoing with five more, he said. Some of the “new” co-ops are additions to existing facilities, but others are totally new. The commission is glad to get both, commissioner Ed Mascharka of Erie County said. 
“To me, even adding a new raceway that holds 500 more fish, that's a new co-op. That's 500 fish that we didn't have,” he said. 
Mascharka added while the commission continues to seek out new partners, it also needs to figure out how to restore its co-op grant program — which provides money to volunteers raising fish — to full funding. It once offered $60,000 in grants a year, but has been cut to $30,000.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors.

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