From the Tank to the River 

Wayne Harvey

Atlantic Salmon find their way back to their home rivers by what’s called imprinting.The water that they live in, creates a memory that pulls them back when it’s time to spawn no matter where they go in the ocean.Monday morning fish that were raised at the Bangor Wastewater Treatment Plant with were released into Penobscot to fend for themselves.”They’re coming up on a couple of years old so in about that time frame and when they reach about a half a pound they get themselves ready to go out to sea,” said Bangor Wastewater Treatment Plant Labratory Director Thomas Hambrock.For the last nine months ten salmon have lived in a holding tank at the Bangor Wastewater Treatment Plant, now Hambrock says the conditions are right for them to return to the river.”They’ll acclimate themselves to the Penobscot and go down towards the salt water, acclimate themselves to the salt water and then grow and then get big enough to make that trip to Greenland.”All of them have been tagged and had their fins clipped so they can be recognized if they return. Now it’s a waiting game for Hambrock and the rest that of the people involved in this project.”They do some trapping every year and trap every thing and if our ten come back and any one of these ten that have the tag on and have that fin clipped and come back within two years they’ll let us know it could be two to three years depending on how they do out in the ocean.”And for those that have fed these salmon and watched them grow and mature for the last nine months, like Hambrock it is tough to release them back into the water.”Well it’s like the empty nest syndrome you know, you hate to see ’em all leave but they need to go they were getting to the point where they were outliving our tank down there, (laughter).”