Alewives Anonymous presents 2019 herring count

Jul 11, 2019

The number of herring in the Mattapoisett River has increased substantially from 5,241 herring last year to 18,156 this year, according to Alewives Anonymous and local herring inspectors. 

The inspectors said that counting conditions were ideal this year, and the counter at Snipatuit Pond appears to have worked. A second counter on the Sippican River at Leonard’s pond malfunctioned.

Herring counting first started in 1988. The counter reached its all time high at 130,296 in 2000, three years after a herring ladder was installed on the Mattapoisett River. However, after that high numbers dropped dramatically to an all time low of 5,000 herring just four years later. 

In 2006, after numbers remained relatively low (6,258 herring), the state implemented a ban on fishing for herring. Following that ban, the herring population increased to 55,400 in 2014, before dipping back down to almost 2004 levels in 2018, despite good counting conditions. 

Once the herring population has reached a sustainable level, the Division of Marine Fisheries will approve herring fishing again.