Fish and Game executive director explains catch-and-release emergency rule at Rye brook

Union Leader Correspondent
April 05. 2018 9:42PM
Glenn Normandeau, executive director for NH Fish and Game, explained his catch-and-release only order at Berry Brook during a meeting in Greenland Thursday night. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Union Leader Correspondent)

GREENLAND — The executive director of New Hampshire Fish and Game answered questions Thursday night about a catch-and-release only emergency rule he issued last month at Berry Brook in Rye.

The action is being taken because of concerns regarding contaminants leaching into the water from the nearby Coakley Landfill Superfund site. The presence of perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, has been detected in Berry Brook, according to a March 19 press release from Fish and Game.

During a public meeting hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Thursday, Glenn Normandeau said he issued the six-month order due to an “abundance of caution.”

Normandeau said he does not believe scientists testing the fish for PFCs will find levels which exceed health standards. He mentioned that shellfish in the area have not shown high levels of contaminants.

Berry Brook is stocked with 2,500 fish every spring and fall. Normandeau said 90 percent of the fish are caught within three weeks.

Normandeau was asked why Fish and Game officials would stock the brook if there is a chance there are PFCs in the water that could contaminate them. He said it was a decision made to ensure scientists could retrieve the data they need.

“If we don’t stock, there aren’t going to be any brown trout to sample,” Normandeau said.

Normandeau explained that the fish that are not caught typically swim out of the area.

The EPA is gathering the data under a Quality Assurance and Protection Plan with the Coakley Landfill Group. They are hoping to determine any potential health risks associated with consuming fish, either stocked or wild, that have been exposed to these contaminants.

Skip Hull of the EPA said once they retrieve the fish samples, they will compare them to established health standards for the consumption of fish.

Residents living near the landfill have shown concern about PFCs in their drinking water. About 75 people turned out for the meeting at Bethany Church in Greenland Thursday.

EnvironmentGeneral NewsHealthGreenlandNorth HamptonRye

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