February 17, 2013

Rival measures would restore alewives into the St. Croix

Gov. Paul LePage's administration would move cautiously. A competing proposal would open river dams immediately.

By Colin Woodard cwoodard@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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click image to enlarge

"We don't have an inshore groundfishery anymore, and one of the reasons is that we cleaned out the forage fish," said Sean Mahoney, vice president of the Conservation Law Foundation. "The idea of limiting the abundance of natural resources on the basis of concerns that have no scientific support whatsoever is just really bad policy."

The state's largest guides' association is supporting the administration's approach. "Our concern is that if the biologists are wrong -- and they can be -- then we need a process to review and then react, and just opening the dam is not the best way to proceeed in our view," said Don Kleiner, executive director of the Maine Professional Guides Association. "Caution makes a lot of sense here."

Other guides remain concerned about letting the alewives into the river at all.

"I am not against alewives -- if they were here before that would be one thing, but they weren't," said Lance Wheaton of The Village Camps in Forest City, whose family has been guiding fishermen in the St. Croix watershed for four generations.

"I wonder if the people and organizations who want to open the upper river to these fish will be ready to pay for the lost livelihoods of the families who would lose everything if they find out they've made a mistake."

Colin Woodard can be contacted at 791-6317 or at:



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