Conservation is no longer enough. Instead of just saving what’s left, we need to restore what’s lost.
Only in the last half century or so have Americans begun to appreciate fish as having a function beyond bending rods and posing prettily on platters.
Consider the fate of America’s landlocked Arctic char. As the last glacier retreated sea-run char stranded in North American lakes, adapting to a freshwater life cycle.
The landlocked form wasn’t rare in New England until about a century ago when professional and amateur “bucket biologists” started dumping fish species everywhere they didn’t belong.
Today the only Arctic char left in the contiguous states survive in a dozen ponds in northern Maine.
In fall 2010, the Nature Conservancy, state biologists, the Maine Army National Guard and other partners began the most ambitions fish-recovery project in Maine history.