Testimony By Meade Cadot, Ph.D.

Comments On The 2022-23 Wildlife Rules Proposals: FISHER

Once again I call for a more conservative approach to fisher management. As in past years, I attach graphic support for more conservative rules. In this century’s first decade, fisher harvest rules were so liberal that the population plummeted. And in the second decade, corrective measures were not sufficient to stop that precipitous slide. Surrounding states were more cautious and continued to monitor sex and age of harvested animals. Population declines in those states have not been as severe and have since been halted. It was gratifying to see that in 2021, for the first time this century, tooth turn-in (lower jaw) was again required of NH trappers. However, the department has not yet had the sex and age determination completed for those animals. And yet, the department is recommending no changes in the rules for Fisher. A more conservative approach calls for at least a one year moratorium on taking fisher (as successfully implemented for 1977-78), or at the very least, a shortening of the season to a week (as in 1980 with a bag limit of just one), with future rules governed in part by the results of the tooth data analysis. Hopefully that data will show more males than females taken with the majority of animals being juveniles, not adults in a dwindling population. Also, the department most certainly should implement comprehensive camera trapping surveys, as has been done in both Vermont and Maine, in order to have data independent of any harvest by which to monitor the health of the Fisher population.

Thank you for your consideration, and I welcome your comments.

Meade Cadot, Ph.D. Jan. 06, 2022