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Discarded perch responsible for Parker Pond smell

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Unwanted white perch led to a smelly situation on Parker Pond two weeks ago, after 13,000 of the fish removed from the body of water were discarded on a small island.

Mark Latti, spokesperson for Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, confirmed last week that a state biologist removed 13,000 of the fish from Parker Pond. The 1600-plus acre pond, the shores of which touch the towns of Fayette, Vienna, Chesterville and Mount Vernon, is also a cold water fishery for landlocked salmon, which have been stocked since 1959. The white perch, actually a member of the temperate bass family, is considered an invasive species in Maine. That, Latti said, was why the fish were removed.

“When we get an invasive species like white perch we try and control them,” Latti said.

The perch compete with salmon for smelt, an important source of food for the salmon. Latti noted that Maine Department of Transportation and IFW had been working to sustain the salmon population in Parker Pond, including installing a culvert designed to improve water quality.

“We don’t have a lot of cold water fisheries,” Latti said. “There’s been some money put into that lake.”

Gretchen Legler, a Farmington resident, said that she was out on Parker Pond Friday, June 19, with friends when they smelled something terrible, to a point that they decided to cut short their trip. Uncertain what the smell was, Legler called the Maine Warden Service. The warden later told her that the smell had come from thousands of white perch that had been dumped on a small island.

Dumping the fish on the island had been a mistake, Latti said Thursday. As is the case with roadkill or diseased animals, fish removed from lakes are typically brought to composting sites at IFW facilities, Latti said. The biologist went back to Parker Pond Thursday of last week and removed the fish, bringing them to a compost site.

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