Trouble for Bay State River herring trapped by drought in Lakeville, Middleboro, Rochester

The historic drought trapped at least a million young river herring in Assawompsett Pond as they tried to swim out to the ocean, and a state biologist says countless more are likely stuck up and down the Massachusetts coast. The water in Assawompsett has been too low to flow over the spillway that leads to the Nemasket River, on the Lakeville-Middleboro line. Each spring, adult herring make their way upstream to spawn. Hatchlings spend the summer in inland waters. In late summer, fall, and into the winter, young fish swim out to the ocean. If they get stuck, it can present some problems. “My understanding is they can winter over if they have to, but it’s not a preferred option,” Cavanaugh said. If the water gets too cold, or if an ice cap reduces oxygenation, it can kill fish. Read the story here 08:30