WINSLOW — When police arrived at the scene behind Pleau’s Market on China Road, they found something fishy — literally.

As many as 75 alewives were dumped on the ground Friday afternoon behind the grocery store, said Winslow police Officer John Veilleux.

It wasn’t clear why someone dumped the alewives, he said. Veilleux thinks whoever did it might have realized it’s illegal to possess more than 25 at once, so he or she quickly dumped the loot.

Police received the report around 1:20 p.m. There are no cameras in the area where the tiny herring, which grow to be about a foot in length, were dumped.

In May and June, adult alewives migrate from the ocean to freshwater lakes, rivers and streams to spawn. Alewives are commonly harvested during this run and used as lobster bait in Maine, but they can also be cooked or smoked.

According to Veilleux, Central Maine Power Co. owns the property the fish are on, which houses a substation.

This was the first time he’s encountered something like this, Veilleux said.

Police aren’t looking for a suspect at this point, he said, but if the dumping continues, they will start to investigate.

The Maine Warden Service has been contacted about the incident, according to Veilleux.

Police aren’t removing the fish, he said, because that is the property owner’s responsibility.

He suspects the eagles in the area will take care of that work for them, though, he said.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour