GOULDSBORO — Fisherman Gary Moore will be ready for them this spring.
Ready, that is, for the alewives that will make their way in from the Atlantic Ocean. On an incoming tide, the herring will migrate up West Bay Stream. The herring make their final ascent up the fish ladder and over the West Bay Pond Dam into Lower West Bay Pond. The gray-greenish fish travel farther upstream to their birthplace. In West Bay Pond, after spawning, the adults make their way back downstream and out to West Bay. The young remain for months, feeding on phytoplankton and building up their strength to journey back to the sea.
At their March 4 meeting, members of the Gouldsboro Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to grant Moore a three-year contract to harvest alewives from West Bay Stream. They accepted his bid to pay the town $25 per bushel of harvested fish. Moore was the sole bidder.
Code Enforcement Officer Jim McLean urged preserving the life of the dam built in the 1970s. In recent years, he said the structure’s concrete deadman bracing had to be repaired. There are no lateral cracks yet. But he noted closing the fishway’s gates causes water to boil over. That force, he said, can undermine the underpinnings over time.
“If that gateway is closed down and water is continually pressing, it is not good for the dam,” warned McLean, who patched some of the eroded concrete last summer. “If that dam fails, we as a community, are facing a large expense to replace it.”