Cameras may augment herring-count volunteers next year in Pembroke 6-6-14

Cameras may augment herring-count volunteers next year in Pembroke

By Mark Burridge
Wicked Local Pembroke
Posted Jun. 6, 2014 @ 1:30 am

PEMBROKE – The North and South Rivers Watershed Association may have a more concrete final count of the herring swimming through the Thomas Reading Memorial Herring Run in Pembroke next year.
Volunteers taking part in this year's count stopped scanning the streams May 31, but the final figure is still be calculated.
Already looking toward next year's count, the watershed association and the Pembroke Herring Fisheries Commission are considering an optical counter purchase.
"Our commission has been so great at clearing the streams," said Kyle Harney, a member of the town fisheries commission. "The number of fish looks to be up this year."
Samantha Woods, executive director of the watershed association, would like to see optical counters in both the herring run and the Indian Head River near Luddam's Ford Pond.
"It would be nice to have the optical counter with the human counters, and then we can compare them to see how accurate the count is," she said.
An optical counter is essentially a camera that is placed in the water. Video from the camera is run through a software program, which produces a count of the number of fish that swam by.
Currently, the association has volunteers count how many herring they see during 10-minute periods six or nine times per day. Then an algorithm developed by a scientist at the state Department of Marine Fisheries is applied.
"It gives us a count within a few, plus or minus," Woods said.
Even if optical counters are purchased, Woods would not want them to replace the human counters.
"Part of why we do this is to engage the public," she said. "It might be that the optical counters will give us more accurate information, but I don't think anything beats eyes on the water."
Reach Mark Burridge at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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