Dave Lash on June 15th, 2011

From the June 2011 newsletter:

Once again this spring, the Association participated in the annual alewife count coordinated by Peter Phippen of Eight Towns and the Bay. We sent observers to the Apple Street bridge on the weekends in April and May looking for alewife coming upstream to spawn in Chebacco Lake. Sadly, despite over 30 sessions, no alewife were spotted, suggesting that this year’s alewife population is probably down again.

Locally, we strive to keep Alewife Brook clear of any obstructions preventing the alewife run. Last summer, for example, Association volunteers worked with the Department of Marine Fisheries cutting back vegetation and removing debris. Nevertheless, it may be that the declining alewife population is a product of over-fishing in the Atlantic fisheries. Association Board Member Chuck Bencal, who works in the industry, reports that colossal fishing ships have been netting mackerel and herring for over a decade. Marine Fisheries has recently documented that lake herring schools (alewife) have been netted right alongside ocean herring. Fortunately, Marine Fisheries and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) have dramatically cut the allowable quota for this year. Hopefully, we’ll see the alewife population rebound in the years ahead.

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