Volunteers needed for Nequasset alewife count

Help KELT count fish in May, early June
Posted:  Monday, April 24, 2017 - 10:00am

As spring comes to coastal Maine, it brings with it the return of alewives to Nequasset Lake and the start of the annual Nequasset Alewife Count. Volunteers are needed from May through early June to count the fish that successfully make it into Nequasset Lake to spawn. Counting is a fun activity for both children and adults, and no prior experience is necessary.

Sign up at http://kennebecestuary.org/2017-nequasset-fish-count. Each counter signs up for a two-hour block and counts fish for two 10-minute periods in that block. Counting is broken into two-hour blocks between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., every day of the week for the month when the fish are climbing the ladder into the lake.

Although seeing alewives fight the current to enter the lake is the main event, volunteers have also had the chance to see eagles, herons, ospreys, mink, bass and loons drawn to the ladder by the lure of an alewife meal. A visit to the fish ladder also brings the chance to see an active alewife harvest or to purchase some smoked alewives for 75 cents apiece.

Fish counting helps to evaluate if there are enough fish entering the lake to sustain a healthy alewife run and harvest in the future. Woolwich has had a sustainable alewife run and harvest at Nequasset for hundreds of years. Counting also helps assess if the new fish ladder, constructed in 2014, is working as well as it possibly can to enable fish to enter the lake.

If you have any questions about the Nequasset alewife count, contact Ruth Indrick at rindrick@kennebecestuary.org or 207-442-8400.