FARMINGTON – One hundred fifty years ago Atlantic salmon teemed in our rivers and streams and were the basis of a thriving commercial fishery. In 1880, 10,000 Atlantic salmon were unloaded on the Penobscot docks. By 1948, the last year of the commercial harvest, just 50 fish were landed. What happened? Can they be brought back?
On Wednesday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m., the Western Audubon Society will be presenting a program on Maine salmon restoration a UMF’s Roberts Center, C 23.
Today the Maine Atlantic Salmon commission is working to restore this majestic, migratory fish to its historic waters, some of which, the Sandy River and its tributaries, flow through our back yards. Their fisheries biologist Paul Christman will be telling this fascinating story at his presentation on the commission’s work. In the process we will learn about the salmon’s fascinating life cycle and the challenges involved in bringing it back.
Paul Christman is a fisheries biologist who works with the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission. Paul began working in fisheries with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife during his college days first as a work-study student in 1995 and eventually as a contract fisheries technician. In 1998 he took a position with the Maine Atlantic Salmon Commission Bangor office and began working exclusively with Atlantic salmon. He worked his way up and by 2000 took the lead in research, management, and restoration of salmon in Southern/Central Maine. His current study area is from the St George River to the New Hampshire border. His three largest programs are the Sheepscot, Kennebec and Saco rivers.
Wednesday’s presentation will cover the work he is doing on the Kennebec River. It will include an overview of the restoration program including adult returns, habitat surveys and population estimates. Paul will bring us up to date on some exciting work he is conducting on our Sandy River, a tributary to the Kennebec River. These research projects have included streamside and instream incubation, and adult salmon radio telemetry.
This is free and open to the public. There will be a short business meeting beforehand to vote on our new slate of officers. Contact person is Marge Blonder at 645-2445