Sunday, July 26, 2009

Abolish the Legislation that prevents Alewife from spawning in St. Croix - IJC

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Blocking alewife spawning in the St. Croix may have been the seminal event in destroying the 10 million dollar plus fishery in the St. Croix River Estuary. This move by the International Joint Commission is vital to the restoration of this Canadian Heritage River.


Fish blockade between N.B., Maine faces stormier waters
By Randy Boswell , Canwest News ServiceJuly 25, 2009
A watery, 185-kilometre stretch of the U.S.-Canada border between Maine and New Brunswick has become an international battleground over the fate of the alewife, a hand-sized fish that has been blocked from migrating up the St. Croix River since 1995 under an order from Maine's legislature aimed at protecting the state's sport-fishing industry.
While fishing guides along the St. Croix have long blamed alewives for devouring juvenile smallmouth bass and other fish favoured by anglers, U.S. and Canadian scientists - including experts with Maine's own fisheries department - have found no evidence to support the claim.
Now, in an unprecedented step into controversial waters, the Ottawa-based International Joint Commission - the Canada-U.S. agency that oversees boundary rivers and lakes between the two countries - has strongly urged Maine Gov. John Baldacci to reopen the entire St. Croix system to the alewife or face tougher measures from the bi-national body.

Pointing to a recent report by the IJC's own St. Croix River watershed board and the results of a heated public meeting in New Brunswick last month, the commission's Canadian co-chair Herb Gray and his American counterpart Irene Brooks sent a letter to Baldacci on July 10 pressing him to reopen the main alewife fish ladder at the Grand Falls dam along the U.S. side of the river.
"Your administration's leadership is needed to help restore the ecological integrity of the St. Croix system," they wrote.

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Image Credit and Copyright: Art MacKay

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