Monday, April 1, 2013

Maine: Alewives move a step closer to the upper St. Croix

For those following the St. Croix alewives saga, the fish seem to be winning the fight in Maine's capital, Augusta.

As I reported this morning at the Portland Press Herald, a key legislative committee unanimously endorsed a bill that would essentially open the river to the spawning fish. The fish had been barred from the river by a 1995 law passed at the behest of smallmouth bass fishing guides who feared the fish were harming the (non-native) bass. Last week the same committee heard an earful from the alewives' many supporters, which include lobstermen, groundfishermen, the Passamaquoddy tribe, environmentalists, and the federal governments of both the U.S. and Canada, which share control of the river system.

The emergency bill could be voted on by the House and Senate as early as Wednesday this week. It would then go to the governor for his signature. (A compromise bill endorsed by his administration was unanimously rejected by the committee.)

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