Charr Poster Draws Strong Support

Our new advocacy group for native fisheries has created a great poster that will be placed on all of Maine’s Arctic charr waters. And I am very pleased that the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine are our partners in this important project.

As Francis Brautigam, DIF&W’s Fisheries Division Director, told me, “The Department places a high priority on the conservation of Maine’s native Arctic charr populations; the signage will increase public awareness of this special resource.”

And Dave Trahan, SAM’s executive director, told me that SAM is focused on education, and is very pleased to be partnering with us on the poster.

Emily Bastian, one of the leaders of our new fisheries advocacy group, gave me a great statement for this column: “Existing in only 12 ponds, Maine’s native Arctic charr are the rarest freshwater salmonid east of the Rockies. It is NFC’s hope that these signs will help raise awareness as to the challenges these fish face, and inform anglers of how they can help protect this irreplaceable resource. Invasive fish have severely compromised several populations, so the fate of Maine’s Arctic charr is in the hands of anglers to a high degree. By refraining from using live bait and treating these fish with care, anglers can help ensure they persist into the future. Maine’s Arctic charr are very unique and NFC is thrilled that these organizations have come together in support of this native fish.”

If you missed my column announcing the new group, here it is again.


Outstanding leaders organize new native fish advocacy group

Exciting news! A new organization focused on our native fish has been organized, “to protect, preserve, and restore native fish populations through stewardship of the fish and their habitats.”

I was pleased to participate in getting this group up and running, and will serve on the group’s Maine advisory committee. Outstanding fisheries leaders at the state and national level comprise the national board, with state boards in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

The group’s website,, which you can access here, provides lots of information about the mission, coalition leaders, and more.

The mission statement includes, “It is the belief of the Native Fish Coalition that no stream, river, pond, or lake is truly healthy or ‘restored’ until its full complement of native species is intact and it is devoid of non-native species and hatchery-raised fish. While clean water and healthy riparian zones are a necessary foundation for establishing healthy ecosystems, they are not an absolute indication of overall ecological health.”

“The complete restoration of native species assemblages and the removal of nonnative fish is not always attainable, it is however our goal.”

That’s good news indeed, and it is my hope that this nonpolitical nonpartisan group of outstanding outdoor leaders will be able to advance this important cause. Check out the website and learn how you can help.

PHOTO: Emily Bastian, DIFW Commissioner Chandler Woodcock, and Dave Trahan, with the new charr poster.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.