Atlantic salmon returns at the Veazie Dam on the Penobscot River continue to be brisk, with 70 fish having been trapped at the facility as of Thursday, according to Mitch Simpson of the Maine Department of Marine Resources’ Bureau of Sea-run Fisheries and Habitat.
That total ranks as the second-highest number of returning fish as of May 17 since the trap was activated in 1978. In 2010, a whopping 171 fish had already returned to their natal waters by that date. A year ago, 40 fish had returned by the date.
The Bureau of Sea-Run Fisheries and Habitat also track other species that make their way into the Veazie Dam fish trap. This year’s early leader: sea lamprey. As of Thursday, 747 of the eel-like creatures had been trapped. They joined 83 white suckers and 19 river herring on the list.
Biologists have said that salmon returns are largely dependent on the water temperature remaining cool. As of Thursday that temperature sat at 57 degrees, according to Simpson — comfortable for salmon.