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PFBC to Reduce Operating Costs
and Close Oswayo and Bellefonte Hatcheries

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Jan. 23) – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it plans to reduce operating costs by $9 million over the next four years in order to meet future health-care and retirement obligations for its employees and to fund infrastructure needs. A portion of this reduction will come from closing two trout hatcheries, a move that will reduce annual operating costs by approximately $2 million.

The two hatcheries include Oswayo in Coudersport, Potter County, which has nine employees, and Bellefonte in Centre County, which has nine employees. No furloughs are expected. The PFBC plans to offer affected employees jobs at other PFBC facilities.

“Fishing license sales have steadily declined since 1990, while at the same time operating costs have continued to increase, including the price of fish food,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.

“As a result, we must streamline our operations and reduce operating costs in order to maintain a sound financial condition while we attempt to secure long-term, dedicated alternative funding,” he added. “As part of this process, we evaluated our 14 production sites and determined that closing these two trout hatcheries would have the least impact on the number of trout stocked.”

Arway added that because of existing vacancies within the Commission, no employees are expected to be laid off.

“Over the last two years, a number of vacancies have been created from retirements and transfers,” he said. ”As a result, we plan to offer the employees at Oswayo and Bellefonte the opportunity to take these jobs at other facilities.”

Today’s decision is one part of a long-range strategy to reduce operating costs across all PFBC bureaus by a total of $9 million by the 2016-17 Fiscal Year, which begins July 1, 2016. Approximately $6.7 million is needed for employee health care and retirement benefits and $2.3 million is needed for infrastructure needs, such as maintenance and repairs, at remaining hatcheries, other facilities and boating access areas.

In addition to the $2 million the PFBC expects to save by closing the two hatcheries, it estimates saving another $1 million by not enrolling a new class of waterways conservation officers. Overall, the bureaus of Hatcheries and Law Enforcement account for approximately 27.6 percent and 22.6 percent, respectively, of the PFBC’s annual expenditures.

The PFBC Bureau of Hatcheries spends approximately $12.5 million annually to raise 3.2 million adult trout, 2 million fingerling trout and more than 30 million fry and fingerling warm/coolwater fish at its 14 hatcheries. Oswayo and Bellefonte annually produce approximately 245,000 and 540,000 adult trout, respectively, including brook, brown, rainbow and golden trout.

The Oswayo and Bellefonte hatcheries aren’t expected to be completely closed until the end of 2014. Fish are being raised at both facilities and won’t be ready to stock until the end of this year and spring of next year. Once the fish have been stocked, the facilities will be cleaned and then closed.
 

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why does not other government agencies cut their costs?
Because it is to easy to just raise our taxes vice live within it's means.

Those that are funded by fees have no other choice. Where as those funded by taxes leave us with no other choice. Waugh!
 

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apparently the fish commission cant just borrow endlessly and morgage the future to their great granchildren, like the feds do.
 

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How long before fish and boat HAVE to merge with Game Commission because they financially can't sustain themselves? Think it'll get to that point?
 

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If you look at the game commissions income from marcellus shale drilling on gamelands, and the massive increse they are going to get in Pittman Robertson funds due to the gun/ammo panic buying that is going on right now, they should be flush with cash. They wouldn't have any incentive to merge right now.
 

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Merging the 2 is a bad Idea. The legislature is going to have to pass a license increase. States that have combined fish and game agencies would much rather have Pa. model.
 

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What would be the problem with fish and game merging? Waugh!
 

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jimbridger said:
What would be the problem with fish and game merging? Waugh!
Because the legislature would put them both under DCNR, take the revenue to the general fund and cut the budget of the new combo agency.

Since the combined "agency" would now be receiving "tax dollars" ALL autonomy would be lost and sportsman's interest would be an irrelevant minority opinion.
 

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What if it is done and not put under the DCNR? What if the two commissions just combined as one wildlife commission? Waugh!
 

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This has been hashed over and over again
 

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What? Are you saying you can't use the help or that you don't want to help? Waugh!
 

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I am saying use the seach button..... I dont feed wildlife or troll posts....
 

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No thanks. I don't fish and I don't want the PGC burdened with the PFBC issues.
You mean like saving some dams and lakes that support wildlife where some of us like to hunt ducks or trap rats? Waugh!
 

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jimbridger said:
What would be the problem with fish and game merging? Waugh!
I feel this is going to happen sometime in the near future, with both being combined with DCNR.
I have seen all the arguments on the pro's and con's, doesn't matter, due to money it will happen.
 

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I don't like the idea of it being under the DCNR, however I can't see a big problem if both were merged and remained an independent commission system self supported as is now the case. A lot of redundancy could be eliminated saving money. Waugh!

BTW I agree with you I just don't like the idea. Waugh!
 

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Just imagine when 700,000 less pellet heads hit the waters in the coming years. Some dude who cant rope 5 barely legal fish in the first 10 mins will have a heart attack.

The fish commission could cut costs. STOP PUTTING TROUT IN STREAMS THAT CANT SUPPORT THEM YEAR ROUND. Bald eagle creek gets the most influx of stocked fish. From the bridge in milesburg up from about June on that water is so low, so warm that it supports rockbass and smallmouth. Its not a trout stream.

Cut the limit, stock brook trout fingerlings into native streams that can support trout populations and stop raising fish to put in a stream one day so someone can eat them the next.

That money could go much further in raising fingerlings of other species which the lakes and rivers can support. Turning trout fishing into a game of numbers caught easily was a financial nightmare from the word go.

If you really want to eat fish, head down to howard, it has a panfish infestation.

Someone will be here shortly to tell me that the majority of license sales is based on trout fishing. Im here to tell you that mentalities need changed.

Believe me, if anyone thinks closing the bellefonte hatchery is a shame, its this guy who grew up less than a half a mile from it on its sustaining creek.
 
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