AUGUSTA, Maine — Citing a decline in smelt abundance, the Maine Department of Marine Resources announced on Tuesday that spring smelt fishing on coastal tributaries between Stonington and the New Hampshire border will be closed starting March 14.
Any smelt camps still operating on the Kennebec and its tributaries will be exempt from the closure, DMR commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a press release.
According to the release, the closure will last for 90 days, which will include spring spawning runs, when smelts head into freshwater tributaries and are particularly vulnerable to capture by fishermen.
Though some commercial smelting takes place in Maine, the DMR is targeting recreational anglers with the closure, Keliher said.
“Based on our ongoing surveys of the fishery, we will decide on management actions for next year,” Keliher said.