Protecting Ocean Ecosystems

Bangor Daily News supports returning alewives to the St. Croix

Alewives swimming upstream (photo credit: NOAA).

In June, CLF attorney Sean Mahoney blogged about CLF’s lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an effort to overturn a Maine law that has prevented the alewife, a forage fish crucial to marine and freshwater ecosystems, from accessing its native habitat in Maine’s St. Croix River. In July, the EPA issued a letter adopting the arguments made by CLF in its lawsuit and warning the Maine Attorney General that blocking alewives’ passage violates the Clean Water Act.

This week, the Bangor Daily News published an editorial expressing support for opening up the St. Croix River to alewives. The editorial, which can be read in full here, focuses largely on rebutting the claims that alewives led to the decline of the non-native smallmouth bass population in the St. Croix – claims that led the Maine legislature to prevent alewive passage on the St. Croix but that were later found to be without merit. It also offers evidence of alewives and freshwater fish coexisting harmoniously in habitats similar to the St. Croix, as well as a reminder of the positive contributions alewives make to marine and freshwater ecosystems and the people who depend upon them. If you’ve been following the plight of the alewife or the progress of CLF’s lawsuit, it’s an interesting and informative read.




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