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Pembroke herring numbers down but expected to rebound 6-25-14

Pembroke herring numbers down but expected to rebound
The Patriot Ledger

By Mark Burridge
Posted Jun. 25, 2014 @ 12:39 am
Updated Jun 25, 2014 at 12:43 AM

PEMBROKE – The results are in, and Pembroke had 37,335 – plus or minus 1,969 – herring pass through the run this season, a much lower total than in the past few years.
Sara Grady, North and South Rivers Watershed Association watershed ecologist and Mass. Bay national estuary program regional coordinator, said she thought the lower count resulted from the fish ladder being broken in 2010.
"Statistically, this year's count was much lower," she said. "But, this would have been the year, the fish spawned in 2010 would have come back."
Grady said it takes four years for them to go to the ocean and get back to where they were spawned.
If that count was low, she said it would be logical to assume this count would be low as well.
In 2010, Grady said, the herring count was approximately 4,000. In 2011, the number was roughly 5,500. She said for those years, the state Division of Marine Fisheries had to come in and take the fish trapped behind the broken ladder out of the water. Then they transferred them by truck to Oldham Pond, where they spawned their offspring.
In 2012 after the ladder was fixed, Grady said there were approximately 99,000 herring. In 2013 there were about 81,000.
Grady wasn't discouraged by the lower count this year. She said she expects next year's count to also be low but for the numbers to return to normal in 2016, when the offspring of the 2012 herring return.
Despite the low totals, Grady said there was strong count coverage by volunteers this year.
"We had about 54 total hours of eyes on the water," she said. "There were a total of 325 counts." Mark Amorello, Pembroke Herring Fisheries Commission superintendent, said he expects to be using an optical counter by the start of next year's count.
Amorello said the counter probably wouldn't actually be bought until next spring. He said the average counter costs anywhere from $12,000 to $16,000, so it would have to be state funded, and the purchase would come through the department of marine fisheries. He noted that he was the chairman for the state Marine Fisheries Advisories Commission.
Mark Burridge can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Pembroke news on Twitter @PembrokeNews.

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