Title

In 1995, Downeast fishing guides convinced the Legislature to block St. Croix al

Authors

Naomi Schalit

Source

Island Journal

Date

2003

Volume Number

Volume 20

Pages

72-75, 94

Abstract

In 1995, Downeast fishing guides convinced the Legislature to block St. Croix alewives from their ancestral spawning grounds, saying they compete with small-mouth bass--an introduced species--despite scientific evidence to the contrary. The original bill was designed to just stop funding for the successful alewife restoration effort, but a last-minute change, made with no public input, also blocked alewives from the upper river. Alewives are food for birds, prey for small mammals, cover for salmon smolts, and a "cornerstone species" in the river's ecosystem. Pressure from the federal government and Canadians resulted in a contentious hearing over a proposed bill to restore a limited number of alewives. Despite the federal government's threat to withhold aid if the river blockages weren't removed, the bill failed. By the spring of 2002, the alewife run had dropped to 1,000 fish from over 2.5 million in the 1980s. The Canadians trucked small numbers of fish around the barrier, but both the Canadians and the federal government have backed off on the issue.

Subjects

Alewives

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