If you’ve been complaining, or even just concerned, about fish stocking on your favorite lake or pond, then it’s time to step up and speak out. And even if you are perfectly satisfied with the species and numbers of fish stocked in your favorite places, you ought to monitor new stocking plans when they are proposed.
Now, you have that opportunity. And the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has just made it easier for you to do this.
Proposed stocking plans that have been peer reviewed and are ready for public scrutiny and comment are now available on DIF&W’s website. You will find them here:
In addition to the agency’s plans to stock waters, you will also find information here if DIF&W is planning to stop stocking a water.
For years, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine advocated to give anglers this opportunity. The legislature enacted one of SAM’s proposals, then repealed it at DIF&W’s request, and then, in 2009, the year before I retired from my position at SAM, a new version of the public notice requirement was enacted. Here is what the current law requires.
When the Bureau of Resource Management plans to stock an inland water for the first time or to stock a new fish species or permanently stop stocking a fish species that is currently being stocked in an inland water, the department shall notify the public as provided in this section and allow for public comments on the stocking plan prior to implementing that plan. The department shall include on its publicly accessible website, in a manner that is easily identifiable and accessible by the public, notice of fish stocking plans identified under this section and allow public comment within a reasonable period of time. The department shall also provide notice by e-mail to organizations and individuals who have requested such notice. The department shall provide notification as provided in this section at the same time the stocking plan becomes a Bureau of Resource Management proposal. This section does not apply to a private pond or a fishing program for children. [2009, c. 216, §1 (NEW).]
Mike Brown, DIF&W’s Fisheries Director, and his team deserve credit for taking this public notice requirement to a new level this year, and spreading the word about this opportunity. Please take advantage, check out the stocking places and plans, and let the agency know what you think, if you are familiar with any of the waters on the list.