River Herring Killed by Bog Pump
October 21, 2010
Cape Cod Online is reporting that a North Falmouth, Massachusestts, cranberry grower could be fined after allowing a half-million juvenile river herring to enter his bog near Wing Pond, according to state and local environmental officials. Many of the herring were subsequently chopped to pieces by a pump used to fill the bog prior to harvesting the cranberries. River herring are currently protected in all New England states due to a severe decline in stocks.
Brian Handy, owner of Handy Cranberry Trust in Cataumet, flooded his bog off Route 28A for harvest on Monday. But Handy allegedly failed to secure netting in Wing Pond to prevent the herring from entering, said Chuck Martinsen, assistant director of the town’s department of natural resources.
The result, according to Martinsen, was between 500,000 and 600,000 juvenile and adult herring being sucked into the bog the day before the harvest was to take place.
Handy disputed the severity of the incident, placing the number of herring at 2,000. “It’s been a total overexaggeration,” he said.
Jeff LaFleur, executive director of the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association, sent one of his staff members to Handy’s bog Wednesday and said he also disputes Martinsen’s numbers.
“My staff said there’s no way the number of fish was that high,” LaFleur said. “That would be about 14 tractor-trailer trucks worth of herring. Something is way off here.”
But Martinsen stuck to his estimates and said the herring were swimming throughout the entire bog and a number of them were caught in the sluiceway prior to draining the bog.
He said natural resources officials manned the area all day Tuesday and overnight Wednesday while the bog was being drained and herring were dropping back into Wing Pond the entire time.