Herring Runs Off To A Good Start 4-24-15

Herring Runs Off To A Good Start

April 24, 2015

The 2015 herring counts in Mashpee have begun and already the number of fish counted appears promising.
"We've seen a dramatic improvement," Mashpee conservation agent Andrew McManus said at a Mashpee Environmental Oversight Committee meeting Tuesday, April 21. State renovations to the Santuit Pond ladder last summer have led to a "significant" improvement this year, he said.
The Mashpee River count also appears promising. Last year, the Mashpee River had the highest count on the Cape, according to Jo Ann Muramoto, a senior scientist at the Association to Preserve Cape Cod. The association compiles data from rivers across the Cape. Dr. Muramoto said that volunteers counted an estimated 341,458 river herring at Mashpee River last year. "I expect it to be a big run this year again," she said.
The conservation department is also looking for volunteers for the counts this year. Those interested are urged to contact Mr. McManus at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , by calling the department at 508-539-1424, or by dropping by Mashpee Town Hall.
Herring are counted in the Mashpee, Quashnet, and Santuit rivers from April until the end of May.
Volunteers count for 10 minutes at a time from the top of each run's fish ladder as herring enter the three ponds.
The counts are done to assess the condition of the runs themselves and the overall number of fish migrating into ponds, Mr. McManus said. The annual herring counts also help the state Division of Marine Fisheries to determine whether to lift the moratorium on the taking of herring. There has been a moratorium on herring since 2006.
Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe have a ritualistic, or aboriginal, right to harvest the small fish and are not subject to the moratorium.
Final counts for the region will not be compiled until mid-summer.

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