More on Maine Splake

Folks Kevin, thank you for stepping up. Kevin and several Dud Dean Angling Society members have done some great research in regard to SPK reproduction and back-crossing. I have seen what they have collected and it is compelling. They have also been in contact with several field biologists and likewise what they have obtained is compelling. The truth is that Maine’s research in regard to SPK is dangerously limited. We clearly know how to grow them, we know how to stock them, and we know how they grow once they are in our water. The resources it takes to get to the level of genetic detail that is occurring elsewhere in the country and Canada is huge. In fact, it may be more than the program is worth? In science they practice what is called the “Precautionary Principle”; i.e., when you don’t know everything you need to know you don’t do it. It is clear to me that we do not know everything we need to know about SPK and more importantly that we don’t have the resources to do the research necessary to ensure that they can be used safely over wild salmonids. I heard just yesterday that a SPK was identified at Lockwood Dam? If this is true this shows once again just how far these fish travel. Is this a new phenomenon; I don’t think so. What I think is happening is that they have always moved around but that we are just paying closer attention. Until recently, the average angler could not tell a SPK from a BKT. Now they can and now they are paying attention. As I see it we are 5-10 waters away from having a safe and acceptable SPK program. If we limited these fish to waters that in no way connected to wild salmonid fisheries the noise would go away (I know I would be satisfied?). Instead we stick to our guns, bomb the media with pro and anti SPK articles, and otherwise make no progress. If we are wrong about SPK which I think we are, we are doing a real disservice. How about forming a SPK working group and trying to find a safe and common ground? How about getting SAM/FIC, TU, DDAS, Maine Ice Anglers, etc., all in a room and talking. I am sure they could agree on some level of compromise that would allow the program to continue, allow anglers to enjoy the fish, protect our wild and native fish, and recognize that open water anglers, FFers, and ice fishers are all valid constituencies. If the data that Kevi, DDAs and I are collecting is accurate, we will all look pretty foolish for failing to head the warnings and failing to do our homework. Hybridization with RBT has greatly diminished native western cutthroat population. Western states, the feds, conservation groups, and private citizens are now spending millions to try to undo the damage. Could we please try to avoid it instead of spending what little money we have trying to correct it? --Bob Mallard