RI Herring Run Status Report

Each spring river herring return to their natal rivers to spawn. Photo/Herring Alliance, John Duane

As reported in the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association newsletter, preliminary 2010 herring-run monitoring results show that there has been some improvement in Rhode Island’s river herring (bluebacks an alewives) stocks since a moratorium on the catching of river herring was established in 2006. However, current run sizes remain well below the estimated sizes recorded prior the decline.

From 2004 to 2006, the average number of fish returning to the Gilbert Stuart run, at the head of the Narrow River in North Kingstown, increased from 14,965 to 67,021. Tiverton’s Nonquit run improved from 47,504 to 104,288 fish. Mortality rates and repeat spawners have also showed improvement.

The moratorium on the taking of river herring will continue through 2011. The Rhode Island Division of Fish & Wildlife will continue to monitor runs in Rhode Island, transport adult brood stock into extirpated or restored systems, work with partners on numerous fish passage projects, and represent the state at regional meetings.

There are several theories for the drastic decline in run sizes prior to 2006, including: overfishing, increase in predation, an ocean bycatch in other fisheries and loss of freshwater spawning and nursery habitat.

To read more:

Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association (PDF)

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