Erik Reardon explores the past, present and future of Mount Desert Island’s freshwater fisheries at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum May 31. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Story of island’s freshwater fisheries to be told

BAR HARBOR — The historical and modern-day uses of freshwater fisheries on Mount Desert Island will be explored by researcher Erik Reardon at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in the McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, May 31, at 4:10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Reardon recently received his doctorate in history from the University of Maine. His research focuses on the history of river fishing in New England from the colonial period to the advent of industrialization. Late last year, in conjunction with Acadia National Park, the MDI Historical Society and Maine Sea Grant at COA, Reardon began investigating historical uses of freshwater fisheries on Mount Desert Island.

While conservation programs aimed at restoring rivers, brooks, lakes and ponds continue to gain traction with the public, many MDI residents remain unaware of historical commitments to freshwater ecosystems, he said.

“Though marine fisheries have traditionally attracted the most attention from conservation organizations and policy makers, freshwater and river ecosystems are also in need of attention,” Reardon said. “My research explores the significance of river fishing for New England’s rural economy throughout the pre-industrial era. In pursuit of a more detailed picture of freshwater fishing, Mount Desert Island represents a particularly ripe location for historical investigation, as the island’s fish resources attracted tremendous attention from both local inhabitants and the region’s sport fishermen.”

The Human Ecology Forum is a weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets and political and religious leaders from around the world. The forum is open to the public and meets Tuesdays at 4:10 p.m. during the school term in the McCormick Lecture Hall.

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