The Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine will host what it calls “a comprehensive meeting regarding invasive and introduced fish species” on August 16.
In its announcement, SAM noted, “the problems surrounding the introduction of non-native invasive and competing fish species throughout Maine is well documented. According to Forrest Bonney, the State’s leading authority on brook trout, “Currently the gravest threat to Maine’s brook trout populations is the unauthorized introduction of competing species.”
SAM also reported that Matt Scott, a retired Department of Environmental Protection biologist who also served as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, once said the introduction of invasive species in Maine borders on environmental terrorism.
Strong words, but fair. Entire Maine ecosystems have been changed by the introduction of non-native fish. Anglers introduced some illegally. Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Department stocked others.
I have examined this problem in more detail in a new invasive fish column posted today in my Bangor Daily News blog.
According to SAM’s Executive Director David Trahan, his organization’s goal on August 16, “is to bring some of Maine's most involved sportsman and women, organizations - both State and non-government - and leaders in outdoor recreation together to brainstorm ideas and proposals to address real solutions aimed at solving the problems associated with the introduction of invasive and competing fish species in Maine.”
“The purpose of this first meeting,” wrote Trahan, “is to request that all participants provide ideas and suggestions to be put on the table. From new ideas on education, new legislation, new rules, stepped up enforcement, etc. No suggestion will be considered too small or too great.”
They’ll need some great ones to address this critical problem. But they will have to begin by answering these questions.
How do we as a state decide which non-native species are good and which are bad? Why is it that Black crappie, illegally introduced in more than 300 Maine waters, are promoted as a great fishery in DIF&W’s newsletter, while Northern pike, another illegally introduced species, is considered disastrous?
How can DIF&W be increasing the number of waters stocked with Rainbow trout, when that species has “beguiled American and overrun the world,” according to Anders Halverson? A review of Halverson’s book, An Entirely Synthetic Fish, was the first one posted in the Book Reviews section of this website (go to the end of the book review archives to read this). It will alarm you.
I plan to attend, participate in, and write about SAM’s meeting. Should be interesting!
PHOTO: Gabe Jacobs of Mount Vernon with a northern pike, a popular fish with ice anglers.