AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Maine lawmakers have approved a bill that will allow alewives to swim in the St. Croix River for the first time in nearly two decades.
If signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage, the bill approved Wednesday takes effect immediately. Advocates say the decision will benefit the state's environment and fishing industry.
Fishways at dams in the river that forms part of the border between Maine and Canada have been blocked since 1995.
Opening them is expected to allow the fish's population to increase from tens of thousands to 10 million or more.
Supporters say alewives are critical prey food for the state's ground fish stocks and an important baitfish for the lobster industry.
Opponents say they are concerned that restoring the alewife run would harm the smallmouth bass fishery.
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