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Monday, November 01, 2010

No More Chubs & Smelts in Big Reed Pond

And that's a good thing if you're an Arctic char.  Big Reed Pond is in northern Maine and is one of only 12 locations where Arctic char still exist in the lower 48 United States.  The other locations are also in Maine.

The smelt, rainbow smelt to be exact, and creek chubs where accidentally or illegally introduced into the pond most likely by fishermen who dumped their unused baitfish into the water.  The chubs and smelt really took off and displaced the native fish like the Arctic char and brook trout.

Enter the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologists who over time captured the native fish and brought them to a private hatchery for safe keeping. With the pond cleared of its natural residents, the biologists then poisoned the pond with Rotenone to kill off the invasive species. Rotenone is a pesticide, in this case a piscicide that is made from the roots of several South American plants.  It biodegrade in just a few days leaving no harmful after affects or residue.  Check Rotenone out on the internet if you wish to learn more about it.

Remember the captured fish that were taken to the private fish hatchery? Well they're the parents to genetically pure char and trout that will be reintroduced into Big Reed Pond sometime over the next two years.  The work of these biologists along with a little luck could serve to ensure that Arctic char continue to survive in their native habitat.