The Passamaquoddy tribe is now united in its support of restoring the St. Croix alewife run. The three Passamaquoddy chiefs from Pleasant Point and Indian Township in Maine and the Passamaquoddy tribe in Canada signed a declaration of emergency yesterday and called on the Maine Legislature or the International Joint Commission to restore alewife passage in the St. Croix River. The chiefs urged rapid action to prevent the extinction of this fish that has been so critical to Passamaquoddy sustenance and culture over thousands of years.
We at the Natural Resources Council are very grateful to the Passamquoddy chiefs and tribal members for this development. We are hopeful that this will bring about a major shift in policy that will allow these ecologically crucial fish to return to the St. Croix River. Alewife are a keystone species that countless other fish and animal species prey upon, and restoring alewives is a critical part of bringing back populations of Gulf of Maine groundfish, such as cod, halibut, haddock, and pollock. For 17 years, the State of Maine has blocked the St. Croix alewife run based on the misconception that these fish posed a threat to inland sport fish, even as the State also works towards restoring alewives in our other great rivers such as the Penobscot and Kennebec. This is an ecological injustice, an injustice to the Passamaquoddy tribe, and an injustice to all people who depend on the health of the Gulf of Maine for their livelihood. It must end.
Please click on the link to the right to view this milestone declaration from the three Passamaquoddy chiefs.