2013 Environmental Award
for exceptional efforts to reopen the St. Croix River to alewives
It was great news for NRCM in 2012 when Paul Bisulca became involved in the fight to end Maine’s 1995 alewife law blocking these important fish from their ancestral spawning areas of the St. Croix River.
NRCM had been working on this issue since 2001. Paul joined the effort when a group of Passamaquoddy tribal members committed to restoring the St. Croix alewife to its rightful place in their culture and Maine’s ecology asked Paul to get involved. Paul worked tirelessly behind the scenes and succeeded in unifying tribal members as a strong and unified voice in support of the restoration effort. Paul then went to work talking to federal officials urging them to fulfill their trust responsibilities to the Passamaquoddy tribe by pressuring Maine to repeal its law. He also worked with Madonna Soctomah, the legislative representative for the Passamaquoddy tribe, to submit a bill in the Maine Legislature to fully open the St. Croix to alewives. Our staff scientist and watersheds director Nick Bennett commented often how great it was to be working with Paul, and last spring, the bill passed with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate.
The Passamaquoddy call alewives the fish that feeds all. Alewives are an important fish to people for food and as bait for Maine’s lobster industry. They are a food source for eagles, whales, codfish, otter, striped bass, halibut, and many other species. The restoration of alewives is critical to any chance we have of rebuilding Maine’s once-prosperous groundfishing industry. Maine people owe Paul a huge debt of gratitude for his tremendous efforts to restore the St. Croix alewife run, which should be Maine’s largest. On behalf of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, it’s an honor to present to Paul Bisulca a 2013 Environmental Award.