Habitat: River Herring, key to coastal health, slowly returning to rivers

A little fish on the East Coast that once provided vital protein for American colonists and bait for generations of New England lobstermen is slowly making a comeback after falling victim to lost habitat and environmental degradation. River herring once appeared headed to the endangered species list, but they’re now starting to turn up in rivers and streams at a rate that fishing regulators say is encouraging. The fish is a critical piece of the ecosystem in the eastern states, where it serves as food for birds and larger fish. >click to read<14:06

Islanders, officials discuss the dire state of river herring

Local fishermen, tribe and town officials, state and federal officials, and concerned citizens gathered Monday in the cavernous Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah) Community Center to discuss the troubling decline in the river herring population on the Vineyard, and along the eastern seaboard.,,, The decimation done by offshore fishing was a recurring theme in the discussion. “Ninety-five percent of the public doesn’t know how much harm the midwater trawlers are doing,” charter fishing captain, and Aquinnah Deputy Shellfish Warden Buddy Vanderhoop said. Vanderhoop said the trawlers off the New England coasts are also decimating groundfish stocks, such as cod, haddock, flounder, and pollock. >click to read< 13:19

Cape Groups say Stop wiping out herring close to shore

Herring loom large in the history of Cape Cod — it’s no coincidence that pretty much all of our towns have a “Herring River,” nor that one of the first public positions created in Colonial days was “herring warden,” charged with overseeing one of the community’s most important economic resources… In an effort to preserve the species, we have stopped people from scooping up so much as a single herring from our runs. Yet millions of river herring are killed just offshore and denied the chance to reproduce. It makes no sense.This is only one reason the Association to Preserve Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance have come together to call on federal regulators to create a buffer zone around the Cape to stop midwater herring trawling in our waters. click here to read the story 21:59:

Maine’s river herring making dramatic comeback

River herring – in the midst of a dramatic comeback in Maine’s rivers with the recent removal of dams that blocked their spawning runs for decades – had a banner spring run this year, with millions of fish traveling up the Kennebec and Penobscot and the best run in decades recorded on the St. Croix. This was despite heavy rains this spring that created extra challenges for the fish. The recovery of the small schooling fish is having dramatic secondary effects, as they represent a perfect food source for everything from bald eagles to Atlantic cod, and researchers anticipate future benefits as the herring’s numbers grow in the coming decade. click here to read the story 10:10

Sonar revealing more river herring in Choptank River than expected

Scientists have a powerful new tool to help them “see” fish in the Chesapeake Bay’s murky tributaries, and it’s yielding some surprisingly good news about two of the estuary’s most troubled species. “Imaging sonar” uses sound to help them view, and count, passing fish in dark or cloudy water. For the past few years, scientists with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center have been deploying one of these underwater sound cameras in some of the Bay’s rivers to monitor spawning runs of alewife and blueback herring, collectively known as river herring.,,No one knows for sure how many river herring are in the Bay, as fisheries managers lack the staff and resources to do a comprehensive assessment. But a SERC-led team of scientists deployed an imaging sonar device in the Choptank River in 2014 that captured images of the fish as they swam by. Based on the rate at which scientists saw the shadowy blips cross their computer screens, they estimated that as many as 1.3 million river herring swam upriver that spring to spawn. That’s more than expected, and way more than state biologists had figured were there in the early 1970s, the last time anyone looked intensively at the Choptank’s herring runs. Read the article here 10:14