CONTACT:
Steve Perry: (603) 271-2501
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
October 24, 2003

Public Hearing Set on Fishing Tournament Rule Proposal

CONCORD, N.H. -- Proposed changes in the rules governing fishing tournaments in New Hampshire will be the topic of a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 12, at the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department headquarters on Hazen Drive in Concord. For more information on the hearing, call (603) 271-2501.

Most of the fishing tournament permits issued by the Department are for competitive bass fishing events in which tournament participants are required to release their catch at the end of the event. The proposal includes several changes intended to minimize fish mortality at tournaments, based on strategies outlined in the Bass Angler Sportsman's Society's publication "Keeping Bass Alive." One of the proposals would require continuous circulation of freshwater through live wells during bass tournaments; another would prohibit anyone participating in a bass tournament from placing black bass on a stringer during the event; another specifies where bass must be released in lakes, ponds and rivers at the conclusion of the tournament.

The proposal also addresses concerns regarding congestion-related issues sometimes associated with fishing tournaments. These would include restricting parking for tournament participants to 50 percent of the designated parking spaces at Department-controlled boat access facilities, and prohibiting fish weigh-ins from being held in the facility's boat launch area. Also included in the proposals would be a requirement for permittees to have the tournament permit in their possession and available for inspection during the event.

The complete rulemaking notice form, with original and proposed rule language, may be found at the Fish and Game website; download from www.wildlife.state.nh.us/Legislative/NOTICES/Tournaments_Notice_1003.doc.

Written comments may be submitted by November 24, 2003, to: comments@wildlife.state.nh.us; or Executive Director, N.H. Fish and Game Department, 11 Hazen Drive, Concord, NH 03301; or fax (603) 271-1438.

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