BETHEL — A public informational meeting on a plan to eradicate fish in three Albany Township ponds will take place Feb. 6 in Bethel.
The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Evans Notch Visitor Center on Route 2 in Bethel. Snow date is Feb. 7.
The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife proposes the eradication, using the pesticide rotenone, in Crocker, Broken Bridge and Round ponds.
The move will set up a planned restocking of the ponds with brook trout.
IF&W fish biologist Jim Pellerin said recently that fish that are illegally introduced into a pond, such as through fishermen dumping their bait fish buckets or through camp owners, anglers or bait dealers putting them in for personal reasons, can either compete or prey on brook trout and diminish the species’ odds for survival in that location.
In Crocker Pond, the problem is golden shiners, a bait fish. Broken Bridge Pond has golden shiners, pickerel and hornpout.
An eradication and restocking process took place in those ponds in 2000, Pellerin said, but the fish had been reintroduced, illegally and through a dam reconstruction.
Rotenone, he said, is naturally occurring (plant-based) and will eradicate fish and some aquatic invertebrates, but does not harm mammals, birds and adult amphibians.
“It breaks down rapidly and any impacts to nontarget organisms are generally very short term,” Pellerin said. It has been used for eradication since the 1930s, he said.
DIF&W’s primary goal is to restore Broken Bridge Pond, which is about 20 acres, to a quality brook trout fishery. But because it is connected to and downstream from Crocker Pond, which is 10 acres, that pond must also be treated.
After the treatment and restocking in 2000, he said, the catch rates for brook trout had more than doubled, and their growth rates and longer-term survival also improved significantly.
This would be the first eradication for 14-acre Round Pond since 1961, Pellerin said. It currently has hornpout and shiners that need to be removed, he said.
But the likelihood of successful eradication is less than in the other ponds because there are many connected wetlands and beaver ponds, Pellerin said.
“There are a lot of nooks and crannies,” he said, in which fish can hide. As a result, DIF&W is still considering whether or not to go ahead with eradication in that pond.
For more information call 657-2345, ext. 112.