After a full day of vigorous testimony (including supportive testimony from CLF) on March 25, Maine’s Marine Resources Committee today unanimously voted that LD 72, a bill that will reopen the St. Croix River to alewives, ought to pass. This is an excellent outcome.
With that strong recommendation, the bill will soon go to the full Legislature for a vote. If passed, LD 72 will reverse the law on the books since 1995 that has closed the fish ladder at the Grand Falls Dam to alewives, preventing them from reaching their spawning grounds. Originally justified by a mistaken belief that alewives competed with smallmouth bass and caused a decline in their population, numerous scientific studies since then debunked that myth. But in the intervening years, the alewife population has shrunken to the point where the species may be listed as threatened. Alewives provide food for numerous species higher in the food chain, provide bait for the spring lobster fishery, provide cover for other migrating species, and much more.
CLF has been pushing for the unfettered restoration of alewives to the St. Croix in the Courts and in the Legislature. We’re very close to an historic victory that helps the environment and economy of the St. Croix region. Now is the time to push this over the finish line. Please stand with us and contact your legislators and urge them to support this bill.