Saco Salmon Restoration Alliance & Hatchery
P.O. Box 115, Saco, ME 04072
We are a publicly funded all-volunteer non-profit organization. Our volunteers are continuing to contribute between 2000 and 3000 hours yearly to keep our salmon hatchery in operation.
We are hoping to receive more salmon eggs from the UNE MSC between January 2023 and February 2023 so that we can continue to plant eggs in area streams and provide eggs for the Fish Friends program.
All spawning of wild Atlantic salmon, by UNE students and volunteers, has been completed by the end of February. There have been two successful trips to the field for egg planting.
March – April 2023
The Fish Friends program is continuing this year. Eleven area schools have been provided with eyed-up wild Atlantic salmon eggs. Pam Aslinger, David Adams, and Dorothy Marecaux made the egg deliveries in March.
Three UNE Citizenship volunteers are helping at the hatchery until May 2023, along with our regular staff.
Dr. John Mohan from the UNE MSC has written a grant for one more set of e-fishing gear. This will allow two groups of UNE students and the facility to e-fish for parr in one day. Usually, two days were scheduled for e-fishing before the end of September, but weather always seemed to interfere with one of the days. Two sets of equipment should eliminate this issue.
David Adams is currently scheduling school tours of the salmon hatchery and the UNE MSC for late March and through the middle of April.
The grant that Dr. John Mohan wrote was approved for $6,700. The balance of the $12,000 purchase will be shared by three other organizations, including SSRA&H.
According to David Adams, the fish friend’s hatchery and the UNE Marine Science center tours consisted of nine schools, ten classrooms, 150 students participated.
An email from one of the Fish Friends teachers, Bethany Rocheleau reads as follows.
“I just wanted to say on behalf of all the kindergarten classes that we all had a wonderful time this morning! The kids loved being able to see the adult salmon, visit the touch tanks and even wave hi to “Nemo”! Seeing all the behind-the-scenes of the hatchery was so enlightening for them as now they know just how much effort and work goes into supporting the salmon population. Our only regret about today is that we didn’t schedule more time!”
Four salmon broodstock were “fished” out of tank four before the cleaning process began. The salmon were transferred to tank seven where they will reside until they get moved to UNE.
Fish Friends News - Respectfully submitted by David Adams, 6/19/23.
With support from the Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation, the 2023 SSRA Fish Friend program successfully completed our second-year partnership with Maine Audubon and 10 Portland Public School classrooms. Nine other area schools and ten classrooms also participated in observing and supporting the development of Atlantic Salmon from egg to alevin and fry stages and then release. These schools include The New School Kennebunk, Jameson School Old Orchard Beach, C.K. Burns School Saco, Thornton Academy Saco, St. Brigid’s School Portland, Falmouth Elementary School Falmouth, Sacopee Valley Middle School Hiram, Sanford High School Sandford, and The Mildred Day School Kennebunkport. Over 150 students accompanied by chaperones and teachers took advantage of invitations to visit the Hatchery and the UNE Girard Marine Science Center which greatly enhanced student understanding of Atlantic Salmon life cycles, habitat, and conservation efforts.
Many thanks to Pam Aslinger for coordinating egg pick-up and delivery, monitoring egg and fry development and coordinating release schedules. Thanks to Dorothy Marecaux for her assistance in egg delivery and fry stocking. A shout out to Garry Kasten, Ray Gosselin, Dan LeBlond, and Denis Santerre for assisting in Hatchery tours and adding important elements to the student experience. Special thanks and kudos to Mike Galloway who enthusiastically organized comprehensive tours of our Atlantic Salmon project, as well as the UNE Girard Marine Science Center (GMSC)..
Plans for continuing work with UNE have continued throughout the summer. Tours for UNE returning students have already been scheduled for October. E-fishing for parr with Dr. John Mohan and UNE students has been scheduled for September 11, 18, 25, 2023 and depends on the weather & stream conditions. Cleaning and readying tanks is a priority before the e-fished parr arrive.
It has been reported to SSRA that a long-time member from years ago has died at 94 years old at his home in Biddeford. Lionel F. “Toots” Bouthot. He spent many years in local schools educating children about salmon and fishways on behalf of the Saco Salmon Club. Mr. Bouthot was an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer. He fished many waterways in New England and Canada with fishing buddies and family. Mr. Bouthot passed his passion for fishing to his sons.
The Board of Directors for the SSRA and H are planning to meet and review the plan for maintaining the hatchery. It is necessary to update the plan for engineering the hatchery to accommodate the switch from only raising eggs & fry to holding e-fished parr & smolts for replenishing the broodstock held by UNE GMSC.
E-fishing for parr with Dr. John Mohan and UNE students was completed September 29, 2023 and October 2nd, 2023. This has not been a good year for collecting parr due to the excessive amount of rainfall and turbulence in the streams. Thirty Parr were collected in two trips and eleven were lost from stress and /or disease. These salmon are approximately 20 months old and were planted as eyed up eggs by our volunteers in January 2022.
We have eight UNE volunteers helping at the hatchery. One UNE Intern Antoine Mier who needs to complete two hundred forty hours for six credits from UNE. Five are Citizenship volunteers requiring fifteen hours of volunteer service. One of the Citizenship volunteers is a former hatchery intern. Two other UNE students are volunteering to help at the hatchery to get more experience with hatchery operations and to learn about how to care for wild Atlantic salmon.
As of 10/10/23, nineteen e-fished parr are in tank five, forty-nine smolts are in tank six, and twenty smolts are in tank seven.
We have fifteen UNE volunteers and eleven of those UNE students are Citizenship program volunteers.
Newsletter prepared by Garry Kasten and Dorothy Marecaus.
Reviewed and edited by Janet Kasten
Thank you all for your generous support.