Wellfleet Herring Warden Jeff Hughes on the radio at WCAI

On July 10 WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR Station aired a program called, "Herring: Small But Important".  Wellfleet's Herring Warden Jeff Hughes is interviewed as well as several herring count volunteers from the Friends of Herring River.

David Bethoney from the School for Marine Science and Technology is also on the program and describes the riiver herring bycatch reduction program.  David spoke to the River Herring Network annual meeting in October 2012.

Check it out at the link below:

Abby Franklin - July 31, 2013


Take a 5 Question Survey! Help plan the next River Herring Network Annual Meeting

The third annual River Herring Network meeting will take place in October, and we're looking for your ideas for speakers and topics. There are so many things we could discuss – which are most important to you as a herring warden, natural resource officer, volunteer herring counter, or river herring enthusiast?

Please click the link below to take a 5 minute survey that will help us plan a great meeting.

Thank you in advance.

Abby Franklin – July 29, 2013


DMF request for 2013 Herring Count Data

Dear volunteer counters, groups and associations:

The 2013 spring herring migrations are coming to a close in many of the rivers throughout the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) is charged with the management of the state's river herring populations and wants to know how your run did this year.

Many organizations and associations have received the MarineFisheries herring counting computer program and for those who do not have the program, MarineFisheries would be glad to assist you in estimating the size of your monitored run.

Your efforts are essential in helping us acquire information on the status of individual runs throughout the state. MarineFisheries kindly requests that you email your results (or count data for those who require assistance in estimating population size) to John Sheppard at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We thank you for your efforts and look forward to sharing the results with you.


John Sheppard
Diadromous Fisheries Biology & Management Program
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries)


New fish ladders in New England

The herring are running and we've had some great news about herring numbers in the Achushnet and Mill rivers due to the recent fish passage projects – see the 'Latest News' section of the website for details. There's also exciting news from our neighboring New England states where some new fish ladders have been built.

There is much we don't know about what has caused the decline of river herring populations – but the effect of dams is quite clear. For example, in 2010 three researchers (Carolyn Hall, Adrian Jordaan, & Michael Frisk) published a paper in the journal Landscape Ecology titled, "The historic influence of dams on diadromous fish habitat with a focus on river herring and hydrologic longitudinal connectivity." They looked at the history of dam construction in Maine and showed that the dams, " 1850 had reduced accessible lake area to less than 5% of the virgin 892km² habitat and 20% of virgin stream habitat." I bet the overall story in the other states is similar.

It can take years to get a fish ladder built – the ladder on Poquetanuk Brook, Connecticut had been discussed since the 1970s and the one on the Presumpscot River in Maine since 1996. It is hard and frustrating work to apply for and secure funding from multiple sources, discuss and agree on the appropriate design, coordinate with dam owners, develop plans for operation and maintenance, and then monitor the structure to see if it is working as planned. Thank goodness for all the folks in RI, NH, CT and ME who have advocated for and are implementing these projects.

With monitoring and evaluation each new ladder gives us the opportunity to learn how to build better ones. I look forward to hearing updates on how many fish are passing and I hope that any 'lessons learned' can be applied to projects in Massachusetts. There is still a lot of work to be done!

Hallville Dam in Preston, CT – Poquetanuk Brook, Thames River Watershed

Cumberland Mills Dam in Westbrook, ME - Presumpscot River

Wiswall Dam in Durham, NH - Lamprey River

Saugatucket River, RI

Abby Franklin - May 13, 2013