Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is again coming to the aid of fishermen. At a press conference Friday, he announced that he “brokered” a deal to save the state’s federal fish hatcheries.
Federal budget cuts put three hatcheries in the state at risk, including one on Dale Hollow Lake, which produces over 60 percent of all trout stocked in Tennessee annually. It is the only source for brown trout and lake trout in Tennessee – TWRA says its hatcheries do not have the water quality or space these species require.
The $2.7 million to keep them producing trout for three years is coming from the Tennessee Valley Authority. During this time, plans will be made to identify a source for long-term funding.
Senator Alexander says it has been a “week of good news for Tennessee fishermen.” He also passed a bill out of the U.S. Senate that would put a moratorium on fishing restrictions below dams on the Cumberland River.
Alexander, a Republican who is running for a third term in 2014, was asked if he’s trying to make friends with anglers. “Of course, why wouldn’t I? A lot of fishing issues have come up,” he said. “But the outdoors are important to me.”
Roughly 900,000 people in Tennessee bought fishing licenses last year.
The head of the state’s chapter of Trout Unlimited, Rick Murphree, says fishermen are “very appreciative” of Alexander’s work. But he says he’d like to think fishermen choose who to vote for based on a “wider range of issues.”
Leah Terry contributed to this report.