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All Saints Students in Bangor to Set Nearly 200 Atlantic Salmon Free on Friday, May 27

BANGOR---A process that began with the arrival of salmon eggs in their science lab in February will reach its climax alongside the Kenduskeag Stream in Bangor on Friday, May 27, at 2 p.m. when the seventh graders of All Saints Catholic School in Bangor release nearly 200 Atlantic salmon into the waters. The fish have developed into alevin, an immature life stage of the salmon. The emptying of the tank will begin at the school at 1 p.m.

“Our class has worked hard to study and maintain these incredible fish,” said Vanessa Rehmeyer, a science teacher at All Saints.

Along the way, the students observed the developing eggs in a large fish tank that is kept just above freezing to replicate the temperature of the Kenduskeag. The students have checked the equipment and temperature regularly to make sure the project is staying on track, documented observations on “Fishy Fridays,” researched different aspects of the Atlantic salmon, and prepared presentations.

Salmon used to be abundant in Maine rivers but due to dams, overfishing, and other factors, yearly salmon returns have dropped to 1% of the original population counts. Maine has the last of the wild Atlantic salmon populations of the United States.

“Atlantic salmon are a beautiful species that are endangered,” said Luke, a seventh grader. “If we work hard enough, we can save them. We, humans, might be able to save the ‘king of fish.’”

All Saints Catholic School has collaborated with the Maine Atlantic Salmon Federation for years through the Fish Friends Program, which provides materials and mentoring to schools around Maine. For more information, visit www.fishfriends.me.