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Letter: Fishway picture

In a press release, UMass professor Adrian Jordaan and others maintained “Fishways have not helped fish.” Well, maybe.

One of the species mentioned is on the decline due not to fishways issues but climate change. This is especially true of Atlantic salmon who are finding they need to go farther north to feed. As the North Atlantic has warmed, the plankton that constitutes the base of the food chain has retreated to Arctic waters. The agency that monitors Atlantic salmon in Scotland has reported that the salmon are spending two years more on the feeding grounds that in the past.

The Atlantic salmon that returned to the Connecticut River have diminished in numbers for several years. Last year the count was 55. We can expect that number to continue to fall. I understand that Maine now considers them extinct. Hatchery raised salmon has been a problematic issue for some years. When the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pulled the plug on the Salmon Restoration Project in Mass., the issue of the poor rate of return was the prime issues.

Last year was a banner year for shad. The count for shad was 500,976. Will it continue? Check back this fall.

The greatest return was the sea lamprey with a count of 15,361. They unlike the salmon feed in the warmer waters of the South Atlantic.

Are the dams really an issue that fishways don’t solve? The American shad, salmon, blueback herring, gizzard shad and, of course, sea lamprey made it past the dam in Holyoke. Others made it thru the fish passages in Vernon and Bellows Falls, Vt.

Are the fishways perfect of course not but they do, inspite of what professor Jordaan and his group think. Or is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife misleading us?

RICHARD STARKEY

Greenfield

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