BRUNSWICK

The cost of cleaning up decaying pogie fish littering nearly four miles of shoreline in Brunswick is estimated at $1,800, said Town Manager John Eldridge on Wednesday.

Clean Harbors, a Massachusetts-based environmental cleanup company, has been hired to use a special vacuum to remove the remaining fish along parts of the shore. Eldridge said the entire affected area will not be cleaned. The cost is $300 an hour, and the town has decided to use the service for six hours, Eldridge said.

A large volunteer effort cleared away a lot of the fish that washed up in the marsh grass. Eldridge said they will need permission to access the shore from private landowners, and said the town will explore options for possible reimbursement.

The Department of Marine Resources said Tuesday it has no plans to assist in the cleanup, pinning the financial responsibility solely on the town.

Department Communications Director Jeff Nichols said Tuesday there is no plan to provide resources because the department has limited funds.

“We are sympathetic to the community and the distress this has caused, but given the limited resources, there is nothing available to support this effort,” Nichols said.

On June 6, several fishing vessels located east of Scragg Island were catching pogies — a fish used for bait — by purse seining, a fishing method that uses a net to encircle a school of fish, and then is pulled tight from the bottom.

Nichols said he was told by marine patrol a harvester was unable to haul the entire catch aboard the boat, and said he is not sure if the catch was too heavy, or there was not enough room in the hold, but some of the catch had to be released from the net.

The dead fish eventually washed ashore by the thousands, creating a stench that has plagued coastal residents.

Town Marine Warden and Harbormaster Dan Devereaux said earlier this week the incident was an accident, and the fisherman did not violate any laws because the fish were released outside of the intertidal area of Maquoit and Middle Bay.

Nichols confirmed Tuesday no laws were violated.

The Department of Marine Resources is not releasing the name of the harvester, or where the vessel is registered.

However, Devereaux believes the identities of those involved should be released so they will be held financially accountable for the mistake.

According to Nichols, under state law, there is no statutory requirement for a harvester to have liability insurance.

Eldridge said the town is aware of who the fisherman is, but is awaiting confirmation.

The town’s attorney, Stephen Langsdorf, said Wednesday he has not been contacted by the town about the issue.

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Mass. company

CLEAN HARBORS, a Massachusetts-based environmental cleanup company, has been hired by Brunswick to use a special vacuum to remove the remaining fish along parts of the shore. The cost is $300 an hour, and the town has decided to use the service for six hours.



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