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NSRWA reports herring tally, Pembroke commission plans on counter 7/4/14

NSRWA reports herring tally, Pembroke commission plans on counter

Wicked Local Pembroke
Mark Burridge
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Posted Jul. 4, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

The provisional results are in and Pembroke had 37, 335 (plus or minus 1,969) herring pass through the run this year, a much lower total than in the past few years.
Sara Grady, NSRWA watershed ecologist and Mass. Bay national estuary program regional coordinator, said she thought the lower count was due to the fish ladder being broken in 2010.

The provisional results are in and Pembroke had 37, 335 (plus or minus 1,969) herring pass through the run this year, a much lower total than in the past few years.
Sara Grady, NSRWA watershed ecologist and Mass. Bay national estuary program regional coordinator, said she thought the lower count was due to 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 that would've been spawned in 2010 would have come back."
Grady said after a herring spawns, it takes four years for them to go to the ocean and get back to be counted again. So, the fish counted this year are all offspring off the ones counted in 2010. If that count was low, she said it would be logical to assume this count would be low as well.
In 2010, the count was beyond low. Grady said in 2010, the herring count was approximately 4,000. In 2011, the number remained low at roughly 5,500. She said for those years, the State Division of Marine Fisheries had to come in and take the fish out of the water, and transfer them by truck to Oldham pond, where they spawn offspring.
In 2012 after the ladder was fixed, Grady said there were approximately 99,000 herring. In 2013 there were about 81,000 herring.
This year's count is significantly lower than last year's, but Grady wasn't discouraged. 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.
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."
Pembroke Herring Fisheries Commission Superintendent Mark Amorello 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.
He said although he appreciates the work the counting volunteers do, he thought an optical counter would provide more accurate results.
"It's not the counters' fault, we appreciate them and their count is better than nothing," he said. "But it would help make the data much more accurate."
Grady said she thought the counter worked well in conjunction with the volunteer counters, and presents another issue.
"The two work great in combination," she said of the two counting systems. "But, if you have a video counter, someone has to watch the video too."
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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