Category Archives: College of the Atlantic

Never Smelt So Good

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The Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Communities class at COA is busy churning out educational and engaging blog posts all about their adventures. The latest? “Never Smelt So Good: The 16th Annual Smelt Fry and Fisheries Celebration” regales readers about the delicious smelt fry hosted by the Downeast Salmon Federation in Columbia Falls, Maine.

The 16th Annual Smelt Fry and Fisheries Celebration was quite a success in raising awareness for important fish species like smelt and Atlantic salmon that need river systems, and the event brought together members of the Downeast Maine community, whose support for Maine fish is vital to their continued survival. Community events like the smelt fry are important to bring people from various backgrounds together to work towards a collective vision to keep local fisheries healthy for all, while having a great time! Want to help in the recovery of smelt or Atlantic salmon in Maine?  This website has some good ideas and you can visit DSF’s site to find out how to help out with their programs.

COA students from the Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Community class conversing with attendees of the Smelt Fry in Columbia Falls. Photo Credit: C.J. Pellegrini

Alewives and Spring Cleaning

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The Fisheries, Fishermen, and Fishing Communities class at COA, co-taught by Chris Petersen and Natalie Springuel, worked with the Somes Meynell Wildlife Sanctuary to clean out and rebuild sections of the fish passages in Somesville in anticipation of this year’s alewife run. They learned some area history, some neat things about diadromous fishes, and got their feet wet (literally!) engaging with the community:

It allowed us to hopefully make a tangible impact on a species in our region and to interact with people who put an incredible amount of work into the preservation of this environment for the future. We were able to engage with our community in a way that truly felt important and useful. By literally jumping into the work on the creeks, we were able to engage with the past, present, and future of the Somes Pond alewife run, and that was truly a rewarding experience.

Read about their adventures here!

Middle Fish Passageway – Photo Credit – Billy Helprin

Shellfish Focus Day at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum

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Rockland- Thursday, March 5, 2015 was Shellfish Day at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum. Dozens of people showed up to hear academics, government representatives, and fishermen speak about the shellfish industry. Topics in the morning included red tides, economic losses from wastewater treatment plant closures, using technical and applied marine science to support management decisions, and action planning. Afternoon topics focused on viral indicators and shellfish sanitation, clam projects in Freeport, and clam farming in Maine. Click to view the Frenchman Bay Partners presentation, Working Together to Get Things Done.

Mudflat project updates

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At College of the Atlantic, students have been developing protocols for measuring the pH on clamflats, and comparing different meters to see which ones are the most precise, and this fall will measure pH on several flats in Bar Harbor. One student, Katie O’Brien, has also buried clam pre-weighed clam at three different sites in look at rate of weight loss of shells as a measurement of the potential threat to clam growth from low pH on clamflats. Those clams are being collected in October and if the technique shows promise, the study will be expanded next year.
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Diadromous fish dispatches

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Frenchman Bay Partners is working closely with both the Department of Marine Resources and the Maine Inland Fish and Wildlife Service to develop fish-run restoration projects that will have the highest impact. In the last year, the groups set up monitoring on Flanders stream and examined Jones Stream as a possible next site for restoration in the bay.

Before Frenchman Bay Partners ever got started, individual partners were doing stream restoration to enhance diadromous fish populations. Sullivan resident Gary Edwards, who is now a Frenchman Bay Partner, spearheaded the Flanders Stream Alewife Restoration project, which involved opening a culvert and installing fish ladder in the stream. The project was completed this year and alewives could be seen moving up the stream in good numbers. Volunteers monitored the run, with more monitoring expected this year.

FBP draws inspiration from the success of the Somes-Meynell Sanctuary’s alewife restoration work. Alewife numbers continue to increase in the Long Pond-Somes Pond watershed, with more than 37,000 fish moving upstream this year, an increase from a few hundred fish to current levels in less than ten years. This model for stream restoration shows the type of restoration possible for small coastal streams with good connections to lakes and ponds. Some FBP partners helped with the monitoring and maintenance of this constantly improving fish run. Congratulations to the Somes-Meynell Sanctuary for leading this excellent project.

Clam Conservation

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Most of the available clam resource in Bar Harbor is at Hadley Point and in Thomas Bay. Clam harvests are regulated by the town which has an ordinance. There are conservation areas on the east and west side of Hadley Point. Both areas have been closed in the past for conservation, but are currently open for harvesting. The Bar Harbor Marine Resources Committee, in partnership with College of the Atlantic and MDI High School, has been active in conducting clam surveys. The last survey of the east side in fall 2009 revealed a peak of one inch clams. Two inch clams are the legal size for harvest. The resource on the east side of Hadley Point is generally larger than on the west side. The amount of spat recruitment is variable from year to year and probably does more to influence population size than conservation closures. In terms of conservation closures, the Bar Harbor Marine Resources Committee has learned that 6 month closures are ineffective. Two year closures will enable populations to re-bound, but given the current intensity of clamming, the positive effect of the closure is not long-lived.