Atlantic Salmon Need Helping Hands

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CONTACT:
Andy Schafermeyer: (603) 788-3164
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
April 22, 2003

Atlantic Salmon Need Helping Hands

CONCORD, N.H. -- More than two million small Atlantic salmon -- known as "fry" -- need your help to get to their new homes in New Hampshire's rivers and streams.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is looking for volunteers to carry the salmon fry to release points along streams across the Granite State. The inch-long salmon, bred in state and federal fish hatcheries in New Hampshire, are scheduled to be released in the coming weeks as part of Fish and Game's Atlantic salmon restoration efforts.

Volunteers release the fry at intervals along certain streams or rivers. The young salmon stay in the rivers for about two years before migrating to the ocean. When the salmon are about four years old, they return to the rivers to spawn. If successful, the stocking program will result in self-sustaining populations of Atlantic salmon in these waterways.

"Each year, we depend on the help of people willing to expend their time and effort to deliver these special fish to their river homes, and they've never let us down," said Fish and Game Marine Biologist Douglas Grout, whose team is running the coastal effort. Volunteers haul the salmon up to three miles in five-gallon pails or in water-filled plastic bags in wicker pack baskets.

"Hiking along the banks of these rivers during the early spring with a loaded pack of stocking supplies is tough but invigorating work," adds Andrew Schafermeyer, a Fisheries Biological Technician with New Hampshire Fish and Game. "Volunteering to stock salmon gives individuals a chance to take an active role in managing the resources they enjoy."

This year, volunteers are needed for several different stocking initiatives:

A number of volunteers are needed for stocking salmon fry in the Merrimack River watershed, including the Piscataquog and Smith River areas on April 25, April 30 and May 2. Further north, volunteers are needed to get salmon fry out to their new homes in tributaries of the Mad, Beebe, Baker and Pemigewasset Rivers on May 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29. If you'd like to help out in the Merrimack Valley effort, call Fish and Game Headquarters at (603) 271-2501.
The stocking of the Cocheco River system on the coast will take place on Saturday, April 26. Volunteers will meet at 9:30 a.m. at the Region 3 Fish and Game office at 225 Main Street in Durham. To participate in this effort, call Fish and Game's Region 3 office at (603) 868-1095.
The Connecticut River watershed -- including the Ammonoosuc River, Gale River, Little River, Israel River and the Mohawk -- also needs volunteers for stocking salmon fry on May 9, 10, 12, 13, 16, and 23. If you can lend a hand in this effort, call Fish and Game's Region 1 office in Lancaster at (603) 788-3164.
Salmon fry are being stocked in the Keene area in May, but additional volunteers are not needed for Fish and Game's Region 4 effort. Call (603) 352-9669 for information.
Volunteers should pack a lunch, bring waders or hip boots and be prepared to spend the whole day on-site. Stocking will take place rain or shine.

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's fish and wildlife. The department conserves, manages and protects these resources and their habitats, as well as providing the public with opportunities to use and appreciate them. Find out more about Fish and Game activities online at www.wildlife.state.nh.us.

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