MITSC Tributaries

Tributaries Episode 7: Interview with Dwayne Shaw: HOPE & ENGAGEMENT

Listen to this episode on the Tributaries Podcast:

We interviewed Dwayne Shaw in the summer of 2023 following the release of MITSC's fishing study, SEA RUN. In this episode Dwayne discusses signs of hope in river restoration and the populations of sea run fish. He also talks about further actions that communities can take to aid in this work.

Read the Transcript Below:

This is a MITSC Tributaries production brought to you by the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission. MITSC Tributaries is our vehicle for narrative journalism and storytelling in support of the commission's work to improve tribal state relations. We work to secure a future where all value Wabanaki self determination, Wabanaki cultures are preserved and lands protected, and the mutual well being of tribal and non tribal communities is promoted through education and relationship building.

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Rachel Bell

Welcome to MITSC Tributaries Episode 7. In this episode, we share excerpts from an interview with Dwayne Shaw in the summer of 2023, in which he discusses signs of hope in river restoration and the populations of sea run fish. He also talks about further actions that communities can take to aid in this work.

Dwayne Shaw

Hi. I am Dwayne Shaw, I'm executive director of Downeast Salmon Federation, and that's based here in Washington County, Eastern most Maine.

The organization's 40 years old, 41 years old this year started by local anglers primarily and focused on wild Atlantic salmon, but also other sea run fish.

Rachel Bell

What's needed from our communities to support the restoration of rivers and Sea Run fish?

Dwayne Shaw

One of the things that's just critical is basic awareness. So much of this has been lost that even local historians who know, you know, a lot about certain places may be focused on the built environment, and they may know about certain elements, but not necessarily about the fish- because they were lost so long ago in some places. It's not in the oral traditions that the stories are gone in, uh, making sure that we've got real history being taught. And it's a lot like the history of African Americans that was brushed aside and not really emphasized. I think the same is true for certainly a tribal connection to the fisheries, but also just the history of the fish themselves and the ecosystem. Here in Whiting there were special regulations about shad. There were salmon in the stream, there were a lot of things here that people just aren't aware of. The records exist. You can find the information even, but it's just had been set aside and. and lost or maybe even purposely pushed away because it was inconvenient, sort of an inconvenient truth.

Rachel Bell

What signs of hope do you see in Maine fisheries?

Dwayne Shaw

I was in a public hearing in Machias and I said, well, we know the dinosaurs are gone and we know passenger pigeons are gone. We're never gonna see the sun darkened by flocks of passenger pigeons. But alewives will darken these rivers like you won't believe. To go one step further, the sturgeon are more ancient than dinosaurs and they're still here, and they're, and they're coming back because of the Clean water act and, and dam passage and dam removals and these types of things. So even things more ancient than dinosaurs can recover if you, again, give them some space, and, and we're seeing that in downeast Maine. So there's sturgeon showing up in the clam flats in this region, and people that have never seen one are starting to see them and they're [saying], what is this thing?

Huge fish jumping right off the channel, you know, its fantastic. They're very tasty from what I hear. I've never eaten one, but I guess I have had, yeah, caviar.

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