On July 17 the
Atlantic Sea Run Salmon Commission announced a hearing for July 26, at which
the total closing of the Kenduskeag to salmon fishing for 90 days would be
considered. Normally the season would end in mid-October, but the commission is
empowered to close it earlier. It had already banned commercial fishing on the
About 40 people
turned up for the July 26 hearing, and only two of them questioned the ban.
Among those in favor were representatives of two chapters of Trout Unlimited,
and a speaker for one of them, Roger D'Errico, a postal worker, said bitterly.
"They just turned into animals. It's too bad that the ban can't be more
than 90 days." He displayed an illegal gang hook a friend had found on a
bank at the height of the slaughter.
quickly made up its mind: from 7 p.m. the next evening, the most heavily fished
section of the Kenduskeag would be closed to Atlantic salmon fishing for 90
It was the first
time ever that such a ban had been imposed. The chairman of the commission,
Maynard F. Marsh, indicated that because of the increasing number of salmon
running Maine rivers, there would be a review of all state regulations
concerning the species and that by the end of the year new regulations would be
put into effect.
Bangor, it was clear that a certain amount of civic pride had been aroused by
the arrival of the great silver fish. People noted that the Penobscot was a
little messy where it ran through the city. The salmon had to nose their way
over shopping carts, hubcaps, beer cans and other urban detritus. A cleanup
carnival is to be organized.
This shows the
right spirit, though it is unlikely that running salmon are deterred by hubcaps
on the riverbed. Having fought their way past seals and killer whales on their
long journey south, they can cope with a little debris. The two major factors
that work against the species are pollution—particularly involving low oxygen
content and especially in the rivermouth—and physical obstacles that prevent
them from reaching their spawning grounds. Bloody encounters with rocks and
baseball bats, so long as they are not totally uncontrolled, are considerably
less fatal to the species' survival. As little as 5% of the run getting through
to spawn can be adequate.
public's reaction to the massacre is heartwarming to those who seek to
reestablish the most desirable fish of all in the Northeastern U.S. With public
opinion firmly on their side, they have a good chance to endure.