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Supervisor vows to fight for fish hatchery

CROWN POINT - Bethany Kosmider hopes her fellow supervisors won't be penny wise and dollar foolish.

The Crown Point supervisor is urging county supervisors to reconsider proposed budget cuts that will close the Essex County Fish Hatchery in Crown Point.

"The fish hatchery brings a lot of tourism - and money - into the county," Kosmider said. "Plus, we're talking about three full-time jobs. Two of those people are Crown Point residents."

Essex County would eliminate 20 jobs under an early-retirement incentive the county plans to offer. The cuts at the fish hatchery in Crown Point would result in that facility closing.

Kosmider said closing the fish hatchery would save the county $290,000, but supervisors need to look beyond the initial savings.

"The fish hatchery is a major source of tourism," she said. "The hatchery puts 50,000 full-grown trout into our streams every year. They're ready to catch.

"The state puts 40-50,000 fingerlings, 2-3 inch fish, into the water," she added. "Those fish aren't ready to catch for two or three years."

Kosmider said fishing is a major tourism draw. Anglers stay on county hotels, eat in local restaurants and make purchases in area stores. Besides aiding private business, she noted, fishermen generate sales tax that helps the county and its towns.

"The fish hatchery may not directly generate revenue for Crown Point and the county, but the money fishermen spend comes back to us in several ways," Kosmider said.

The Crown Point supervisor would like to see the county do an economic impact study before making a decision on the fish hatchery.

In the meantime, Kosmider has contacted several sportsmen's groups to see if they may be interested in helping support the fish hatchery.

"Trout Unlimited and Cool Water Fisheries may be of some support," Kosmider said. "Perhaps they can help keep the hatchery open."

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