Department of Energy and Environmental Protection fish-maintainer Cory Cavello helps an Atlantic Salmon into an earthen pond at the Kensington State Fish Hatchery Oct. 3. (Mark Mirko, Hartford Courant)
By Gregory B. Hladky and the Hartford Courant
Berlin- The folks who run the Kensington Hatchery and their colleagues at the two other state fish-raising operations worry a lot about predators.
Herons, kingfishers, osprey and eagles snatch thousands of young trout and salmon from hatchery ponds every year. The greatest threat, however, might come from the budget hawks who roost at the state Capitol.
In 2011 and again in 2013, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s fiscal gurus attempted to save money by shutting down one of the hatcheries.
Those efforts failed, due largely to impassioned opposition from anglers, fishing retailers, schoolchildren and arguments that the hatcheries are directly and indirectly contributing millions to state revenues and the state economy.
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection fish-maintainer Tom Fitzgerald moves Atlantic Salmon into one of the earthen ponds at the Kensington State Fish Hatchery Oct. 3. Manager Al Sonski says they “easily raise over 2-million” salmon and trout eggs. (Mark Mirko, Hartford Courant)
Today, the state is once again facing a potential budget deficit of close to $100 million. Malloy has already ordered the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection — the agency in charge of the hatcheries — to cut about $1.6 million in spending.