On January 21st, over 50 people, from over 16 organizations, participated in a day long workshop focused on the restoration of river herring – alewives, shad, blue-backs, and sardines – in eastern Maine. Held at the Maine Sea Coast Missions facility in Cherryfield, the event allowed alewife activists to share stories about their fish runs – what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.
Ed Bassett, GIS and Multimedia Technician for the Tribal Environmental Department, said it best,”The alewife has given to us for thousands of years, now is the time for us to give back to the alewife.”
Ted Ames, retired fisherman, professor, and board of director at Penobscot East Resource Center enriched us all by demonstrating the importance of river herring as a keystone species for restoring groundfish populations. Through his work, he has been able to link the disappearance of the codfish with the decrease in alewife numbers since the 1960s.
While there was plenty of scientific conversation surrounding alewives, there was an even greater emphasis on community support and engagement for successful fishery re-establishment. The watershed by watershed discussion, led by Dwayne Shaw, executive director at Downeast Salmon Federation, gave participants an opportunity to outline the on-going projects and needs of each major river – from the Bagaduce to beyond the border. Each success story was a tale of hope, and underscored the importance of community involvement in achieving results.
The knowledge that so many are working to restore sea run fish was uplifting and many voiced renewed dedication to achieving their goals.
The workshop also created opportunities for groups to collaborate, increasing their effectiveness in restoring sea run fish. This is how “Fishing Forever” will be achieved – one community-based fisheries project at a time.
“I am inspired and even more excited to collaborate with such valuable partners and such a committed group of people and organizations who are turning passion into action,” said Ruth Feldman, Program Director for Island Readers and Writers. “With all of your help, I look forward to designing and implementing a fantastic IRW Alewife themed community event(s) in spring 2016.”
Additional information about the workshop can be found on the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences website