Banner03
Print

Tri-town herring count up significantly 7-16-14

Tri-town herring count up significantly

The good news is the herring have come back in stronger numbers to Tri-town spawning grounds than in recent years, but it will still be a long time before the small food and bait fish can be harvested again in Massachusetts coastal waters, rivers and ponds.

Chris Reagle
Community Editor
Posted Jul. 16, 2014 @ 10:00 am

ROCHESTER – The good news is the herring have come back in stronger numbers to Tri-town spawning grounds than in recent years, but it will still be a long time before the small food and bait fish can be harvested again in Massachusetts coastal waters, rivers and ponds.
"This year's count of herring in the Mattapoisett River was 55,429," reports Art Benner, president of Alewife Anonymous Inc., a sportsmen's conservation and preservation organization dedicated to increasing the alewife and other anadromous fish resources in local waters. "That is almost 34,000 more fish than the 2013 total of 21,613, which was down about 25 percent from 2012."
This year's increase in herring, also called alewives, represents a 156-percent increase over last year, Benner said.
Two Smith-Root model 1100 series electronic fish counters tally the number of herring entering Snipatuit Pond and Leonard's Pond, both located in Rochester, and are the area's two main herring spawning grounds.
"Counting conditions were ideal this spring, the counter appears to have performed without errors and visually we witnessed a lot of fish in the river at many different times leading us to believe the number is accurate," Benner said.
This year's count of herring in the Sippican River was 31, he said. The new ladder at Leonard's Pond appeared to function ideally for fish passage.
"The low count of only 31 fish would indicate these were pond and river fish using the ladder," Benner said. "It is unlikely that any herring went into Leonard's Pond."
A new Alaskan steep pass ladder installation was completed at the Hathaway's Pond dam last summer and appeared to be operating very well for this year's herring migration, he said. The Buzzards Bay Coalition installed and operated a counter there recording only a very low count of six fish over a seven-week period in April through May.
Alewives, or herring, are a main food fish for many oceanic fish, whales and shore birds, such as the endangered rosette terns. Lobstermen utilize herring as bait in their lobster pots when available. Herring, being smoked or salted, were a staple of the early settlers of this region. Current day human consumption of river herring is mainly the roe (eggs). An adult herring is 10 to 12 inches long. A female will lay approximately 50,000 to 100,000 eggs. Only two or three of these will mature to adults.
The Massachusetts Department of Marine Fisheries extended the statewide ban on the taking or possession of river herring in Massachusetts into 2014. In the eight years since the moratorium was enacted, the herring population in the Mattapoisett River has shown some significant increases, Benner said. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Committee, River Herring Amendment No. 2 provides that all herring runs be closed to fishing as of Jan. 1, 2012, unless a plan for the sustainability of the fishery had been filed and approved. Massachusetts has not done this.

"It appears that it will be a long time before the taking of river herring from most runs in Massachusetts will be allowed," Benner said. "That should further help the herring populations to rebuild."
Follow Chris Reagle on Twitter @creaglesentinel.

From Forum

Herring Public Forum Exemption to Wetland Act for herring protection
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Run Counts 2015 Herring Counts
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Management Town Brook alewives get a free ride to Billington Sea
KnightofNi > 29-April-2016

Herring Public Forum River Herring Migration Series at WHOI
KnightofNi > 30-April-2015

Eels Fines Increased for Herring Poaching
Jones River > 15-April-2015

river herring blog

rss

Grant Opportunity for Culvert Replacement

The Division of Ecological Restoration just announced a grant opportunity to help towns replace...

Counting herring at your computer!

When you have a minute to spare, check out the Mystic River Watershed Association herring...

'tis the season for River Herring Festivals!

'Tis the season for River Herring Festivals and Events!
Spring 2017

Saturday & Sunday, April 8 &...

Wellfleet River Herring Count Workshop - March 22

Wellfleet River Herring Count Workshop
10am March 22,2017
Wellfleet Public Library
Main Street,...

DMF Proposed Regulation Changes on Opening of Rivers for River Herring Harvest

Hello River Herring Network members,

The MA Division of Marine Fisheries is proposing a...

More Blog Posts