CT Extends Herring Ban Through 2012

TheDay.com: The ban on taking of alewives and blueback herring from most of the state’s inland and marine waters has been extended for its 9th year, the state Department of Environmental Protection announced Friday.

An underwater video of a school of herring. Courtesy Wikipedia.

“Since 2002, states along the East Coast have all experienced dramatic declines in river herring populations,” Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette said in a news release announcing the ban, which is now extended through March 31, 2012. “To combat this decline, the closure of these fisheries must remain in place.”

Alewife and blueback herring, collectively referred to as river herring, hatch in freshwater, migrate to the ocean to grow, then return to freshwater to spawn. Historically, millions of river herring returned to Connecticut rivers and streams each year. In 1985, more than 630,000 blueback herring passed over the fishlift on the Holyoke Dam, on the Connecticut River in Massachusetts. In 2006, only 21 passed the dam, and last year the number was 76. While the reasons for these historically low levels are not fully understood, DEP biologists believe predation by increasingly abundant striped bass and undocumented catch in the ocean may be important factors.

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The Day: Connecticut

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