TONIGHT July 1 - DMF Hearing on American Eel Management

MarineFisheries Advisory

ASMFC Public Hearing on American Eel Management: July 1

On behalf of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) will host a public hearing to take comment on Draft Addendum IV to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for American Eel. The public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 1, 6:00pm, at the Bourne Public Library Meeting Room, 19 Sandwich Road, Bourne, MA.

Draft Addendum IV proposes a suite of options to address the commercial glass, yellow, and silver eel fisheries along the Atlantic coast. Management options under consideration include glass and yellow eel quotas, a catch cap for the yellow eel fishery, a moratorium on the glass eel fishery, and a seasonal closure and license cap for the silver eel fishery in the Delaware River (NY). The Draft Addendum also proposes glass eel harvest allowances for aquaculture purposes and a conservation-based allocation program in which the states may earn a glass eel quota via stock enhancement programs that increase glass eel passage.

The Draft Addendum intends to build upon the management measures established under Addendum III in order to reduce overall mortality and increase conservation of American eel stocks in response to the findings of the 2012 benchmark stock assessment indicating the American eel population in U.S. waters is depleted. For full details, refer to Draft Addendum IV, available on the ASMFC's website ( or by contacting ASMFC at 703-842-0740.

Written public comment will be accepted until 11:59 PM (EST) on July 17, 2014 and should be submitted to Kate Taylor, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Subject line: American Eel).


Marstons Mills River, Barnstable 2014 Herring Count: The Numbers Are In!

THREE BAYS PRESERVATION'S annual Marstons Mills River Herring Count Program got underway on April 9th. Despite the one-two punch of a brutally cold winter and reluctant spring, the river herring returned to their spawning grounds in Middle Pond and Mystic Lake in high numbers.

Day One: volunteers counted 33 fish; five days later, the numbers had quadrupled to 140, doubling to 310 the following day. And the numbers kept rising. On May 4th, 730 fish were counted. When the season ended in mid-May, the aggregate number was over 6,000. Although this was fewer than the past two years, the numbers are still strong.

The herring season went a bit longer than normal this year, likely due to cool weather. On a cold and rainy mid-April day, two fish were counted, four days later - a beautiful, warm spring day - 434 herring were counted as they swam up the river.

The Mill Pond counting program is organized by Judy Heller, Three Bays Program Manager, with 35 dedicated volunteer counters. Three volunteers - Bob Parsons, Rhonda Lockwood, and her 10 year old son Sam - went faithfully every day, sometimes more than once.

"I signed up because Sam was interested," said Rhonda. "It's been wonderful to be involved in the ecosystem and learn so many cool things! Every time we went, we saw something amazing."

Bob Parsons enjoys the opportunity to be outside. "The scenery is great and there's always some surprise. One morning I saw a fisher cat running along the edge of the pond. You don't get to see that very much."

Thanks to all the volunteers who toughed it out during a challenging season. Their efforts help determine the status of the herring population as well as conditions of the connected bodies of water that support them.

For more details about the count check out the blog!

Judy Heller, Program Manager, Three Bays Preservation


Herring Count Volunteers Making a Difference for the Ipswich River

The Ipswich River Watershed Association began our 16th annual herring count on April 1st, 2014. The count takes place at the Ipswich Mills dam fish ladder located in downtown Ipswich MA. We are fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers count for 10-minute shifts throughout the day until the beginning of June. As of April 10th, we have not seen any herring, but the water temperature is reaching the point we expect to see the first fish.
At one time, the Ipswich River experienced runs of millions of herring, shad, salmon, striped bass, and other ocean fish that swam as far upstream as Wilmington to spawn every spring. Native Americans called the river Agawam, meaning "place where fishes of passage resorted," a testament to the rich fish populations it once supported. In 2013, we only observed 33 individual herring and we estimated the total run size (including fish we did not see) to be less than 1,000 fish. Today, dams, low flows caused by water withdrawals and the transformation of traditional spawning habitat into water supply reservoirs prevent herring from thriving in the river. As disappointing as these numbers are, it is just as important to document the absence of river herring as it will be, someday, to document their return.
We want to restore the river's vitality– an enormous task – and documenting the herring population is a critical step in this process. Other critical steps in the process include removing dams, which no longer have a practical function, and controlling the amount of water local water systems remove from the river.
The Ipswich River has the potential to host a thriving herring population and fishery once again. Other rivers on the north shore like the Parker River have seen modest gains in recent years, so there is hope! As an important part of the food web, a healthy herring population would be very beneficial to the ecology of the river.
To learn more about our herring count and the other work we do, please visit our website at

Ryan O’Donnell

Programs Coordinator

Ipswich River Watershed Association

April 10, 2014


Middleboro Herring Festival April 12&13

The Town of Middleboro is holding their first ever Herring Festival at Oliver Mill Park on Saturday and Sunday April 12 & 13!

Check out the following links for more information: