Herring Monitored on Acushnet River, MA

Herring Monitored on Acushnet River, MA
Photo/Middleboro-Lakeville Herring Fishery Commission

Buzzards Bay Coalition: On a cool, sunny morning in early May, 2014, Buzzards Bay Coalition Director of Monitoring Programs Tony Williams pulled up to a section of the Acushnet River flowing through a farm in rural Acushnet, just below the New Bedford Reservoir at Lake Street.

This stretch of the Acushnet River is a gentle freshwater stream winding through the woods – much different than the way it looks farther south, as it widens and tumbles toward urban New Bedford Harbor.

Williams visits this spot every morning in spring, when the annual spawning run of a fish called river herring is in full steam. Along the edge of the river sits a gray metal box marked with the Buzzards Bay Coalition logo and a picture of a fish. It’s a counter, set up next to the fish ladder that was built here in 2002 to help river herring swim around a nearby dam.

Williams grabbed a clipboard and wrote down the number that appeared on the counter: 139. That’s the amount of river herring that had passed up the fish ladder in the past 24 hours.

The day before, Williams had counted 377 fish – nearly the same number of river herring that were recorded on the Acushnet River during the entire year in 2007.

Read more about the river herring that are returning to the Acushnet River in New Bedford.