At Maine hearing, many call for full restoration of St. Croix alewives
For those following the strange saga of the St. Croix River's alewives, some fresh developments to report.
At a legislative hearing here in Maine today, a wide range of stakeholders called for the full restoration of the small schooling fish to the watershed, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border between eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick, and rejected the compromise Adaptive Management Plan. These included the government of Canada, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NOAA Fisheries Service, the Passamaquoddy tribe, the Passamaquoddies of New Brunswick, all the state's major environmental groups, Maine and New Brunswick lobstermen, Maine alewife fishermen, groundfisherman-turned-scientist Ted Ames, and George Smith, the retired longtime head of the Sportsmens Alliance of Maine, who had once backed the closures.
On the other side were the bass fishing guides of interior Washington County, who rejected both approaches that were on the table, over concerns over the possible effects on smallmouth bass largely founded on anecdotal evidence.
The latter appear isolated and, in both scientific and political terms, outgunned. As I report in tomorrow's Portland Press Herald, even if the Adaptive Management Plan were passed, Canada appears unwilling to stop alewives from passing a dam it controls in Vanceboro, effectively vetoing the plan.
For those seeking more background, start with this detailed feature I wrote for the Maine Sunday Telegram last July.
I am an award-winning journalist and author of American Nations, American Character, Ocean's End, The Lobster Coast, and The Republic of Pirates. I'm a staffer at the Portland Press Herald, where I won a 2012 George Polk Award for my investigative reporting and was named a 2016 Pulitzer Prize finalist.