Herring Count Update
April 30th, 2013 | by Ryan
The fishcount is going very well. As of Sunday April 28th, volunteers have performed over 200 individual, ten minute counts and we are not quite half-way through the count season that began April 1. Over the last few years, we had just over 300 counts for the entire season! At this pace we are on track to set a record for the most counts done in a single season. Also as of Sunday April 28th, we are up to 20 river herring counted. On some occasions, additional herring were reported outside of a count period. One observer reported 14 herring going by after 7:00PM when we stop counting for the day. Maybe herring prefer to run in the evening, we don’t really know. Our wish is to install a camera that can record these events when no one is looking. Thank you to everyone who participated in the count so far.
It is not too late to get involved with the herring count. This is a fun and easy activity for individuals and families alike. If you would still like to get involved, contact Ryan or Kate or visit the fishcount webpage for more information.
Counting Herring in the Ipswich River
February 26th, 2013 | by Ryan
If you follow ocean fisheries related news in New England, you know about herring and their decline. But how are herring connected to the Ipswich River? Well, there are actually two classes of herring: Atlantic herring that live exclusively in the ocean and river herring (including Blueback herring and alewife) that swim up rivers to spawn in late spring. In 1600, river herring or alewife existed in the Ipswich River in the millions. Early dams blocked access to the river and by 1840 other migratory fish like Atlantic salmon, Shad and Sturgeon disappeared from the Ipswich, while river herring have barely held on with only a few hundred returning to spawn each year.
Besides dams, historic herring spawning lakes, such as Wenham Lake, have been transformed into water supply reservoirs; and chronic low-flow and no-flow periods caused by water supply withdrawals have all contributed to the decline of river herring. Also, large ocean trawlers targeting Atlantic herring unintentionally take river herring as bycatch. Stocks of river herring have declined more than 95% along the Atlantic coast and many states now have moratoriums on their harvesting. (more…)
The Fish in Your River
February 19th, 2013 | by Cynthia
Imagine the Ipswich River prior to development and the construction of dams; the river and its tributaries were free flowing, with abundant riffles and pools. The river supported diadromous (migrating between fresh and salt water) fish runs numbering in the millions. The river supported such fish as Alewife and Blueback herring, Rainbow smelt, Atlantic salmon, Striped bass, American shad, Sea Lamprey, sturgeon and American eel. In fact, the river’s original name, Agawam is a Native American term meaning “place where fishes of passage resorted” which is indicative of the prior abundance of migratory fish. The harvest of alewife (river herring) as far upstream as Wilmington was an important part of the local economy, and Wenham Lake, now a public water supply reservoir, was the most important alewife nursery in the region. (more…)
The Water Closet, Feb 8, 2013
February 8th, 2013 | by Middleton Stream Team
FISH AND MEN
An old Closeteer and his wife were given a beautiful gift last week. A half-dozen yellow perch shone their wonderful gold and pink-oranges in waning afternoon light. An ice fishing friend brought them directly from their home in Putnamville Reservoir, Danvers. The grateful recipients quickly cleaned the fish with some sadness. Cleaned is a blasphemous verb here, desecrated is more apt. Three females were plump with orange-yellow roe. Millions of eggs would never get a chance at fertilization. (more…)