New England Fisheries

For World Fish Migration Day, Here Are Some Fish on the Go

Saturday is World Fish Migration Day, with events around the region to raise awareness about open rivers and migratory fish. To help you celebrate, here are a few videos and images of migrating fish and the people who move them.

Videographer Dave Timko popped his waterproof camera into Town Brook in Plymouth, MA, to capture these images of alewives.

Town Brook has old mill dams dating to the 18th century blocking the path of these migrating river herring. NOAA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife and others are engaged in a multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to bring down some dams and improve fish passages on others.

Bill McWha organizes a “fish lift” in Rhode Island to help river herring over an old dam.

On the Saugatucket River, in Wakefield, RI, volunteers gather each year at another obsolete dam to give river herring a lift. They hand nets full of the fish from person to person until the herring can be returned to the water upstream of the dam to continue to their spawning areas. Click here for a short video showing the fish lift in action.

Efforts like these are important because river herring populations have plummeted to a small fraction of historic abundance. Unfortunately, when these fish return to sea millions are needlessly killed as “bycatch” by industrial-scale fishing vessels. Worse, we don’t even have fishery observers aboard all the boats to learn what’s happening. NOAA fisheries should support measures to put observers aboard every trip by the trawlers of the Atlantic herring and mackerel fishing fleets, which are responsible for most of the river herring bycatch.

In Wakefield, Plymouth, and all along the coast, citizens are doing their part to help revive depleted populations of river herring. Now it’s time for federal fishing regulators and the fishing industry to do their part, too.



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