Orion executive director Eric Nuse speaking at the State House (R-L) Brian Ames, Evan Hughs, Clint Gray, Nuse, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Commissioner Pat Berry, Rep. Kate Webb (VT F&W Photo - John Hall)
Measure will clarify that fish and wildlife are public resource
MONTPELIER -- Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed H.91 today, a bill passed by the Vermont Legislature clarifying that fish and wildlife of Vermont are a public, not private, resource.
“I want to thank our Legislature for passing this bill clearly stating that the fish and wildlife of Vermont are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the citizens of Vermont and that these resources shall not be reduced to private ownership,” said Gov. Shumlin. “It also helps reduce the possibility that our fish and wildlife could be harmed by diseases from outside Vermont.”
The bill says, “The State of Vermont, in its sovereign capacity as a trustee for the citizens of the state, shall have ownership, jurisdiction and control of all the fish and wildlife of Vermont.”
It goes on to say that the Commissioner of Fish and Wildlife shall manage and regulate the fish and wildlife of Vermont in accordance with legislation and rules of the Fish and Wildlife Board.
Resolving a long-standing issue regarding a captive herd of white-tailed deer and moose in Irasburg, the bill charges the Fish and Wildlife Board with adopting a regulated process through which the number of the animals will be brought to zero over a three-year period. It also requires that the deer and moose be examined for disease during the process, and it protects a moose known as Pete, while authorizing the relocation of that moose to another facility.
Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry applauded the diverse coalition of individuals and organizations passionate about fish and wildlife resources who came together to support the bill. “I want to thank the broad cross-section of Vermonters who worked tirelessly to help pass this bill. The collaborative effort shows our strong and unfailing appreciation of Vermont’s fish and wildlife, and it should serve as a model for future efforts,” said Berry. “As a result, these resources will be managed by the Fish and Wildlife Department for the benefit of current and future generations of Vermonters.”