Former Maine Game Warden Advocates Alien Fish

This from George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine: “SAM opposes the use of splake in Maine waters and has tried every way possible to eliminate them, including advocating for their elimination in the deliberations of the Hatchery Commission. Our motion to eliminate splake failed, but the Commission did vote to reduce splake stocking by 50 percent. Unfortunately DIF&W has ignored the Commission’s recommendation.” And yet John Whalen -- arguably the leading promoter of splake in Maine -- serves on SAM’s Fish Initiative Committee. In addition to publicly promoting splake, Mr. Whalen publicly promotes the continuing pollution of Maine’s aquatic ecosystems with alien predators such as pike and bass, without doubt the single greatest threat to the nation’s major sanctuary for native brook trout. At the same time he has suggested that illegal introductions of these aliens (which his intemperate remarks encourage) are really a conspiracy by members of Trout Unlimited and the Dud Dean Angling Society to frame bass and pike fishermen. Mr. Whalen -- whose business is raising and distributing live bait fish (another major threat to native brook trout) -- certainly has a right to express his opinions, as he has repeatedly done in sundry forums including major Maine newspapers. On the other hand, he is a former Maine game warden and should be held to a higher standard than your average barroom fish pontificator. After the special agents of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Maine Warden Service is the most respected fish and wildlife law enforcement agency in the world, the elite of the elite. In my humble opinion Mr. Whalen’s loud, angry advocacy for more alien predator fish in Maine has stained a proud uniform.