MA: River Herring Population Decline Getting Critical on the South Shore

After this year’s controversy surrounding 2,500 dead herring in Kingston that didn’t make it to the Pembroke Herring Run, WATD is taking a closer look at the long history this fish has in the state of Massachusetts.

Aside from early colonists and Native Americans using herring as food and fertilizer, Wheaton College Biology Professor Barbara Brennessel says the economic influence of river herring is widely underestimated:

However, the state’s river herring population has been declining since that point every single year. Most experts say old dams and culverts are to blame, as they block the herring’s path to their spawning grounds, causing a great deal of stress. 63 dams are still standing in the North and South Rivers Watershed.

A moratorium on herring harvesting was put in place in 2005, and is still in place today. More from Barbara Brennessel:

Additional lectures on herring preservation will pop up this coming spring. In the meantime, Brennessel also recommends citizens visit for the latest population information and opportunities to volunteer.



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About Mimi Walker

Mimi Walker is a 2016 graduate from Emerson College, holding a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism. While at Emerson, she was both an avid reporter and an on-air music personality at 88.9 WERS, Emerson’s long-running radio station. She also wrote for several on-campus publications. She covered the 2015 Edward R. Murrow awards in New York City, and had previous internships at 103.3 AMP radio and at Seacrest Studios in Boston Children’s Hospital (as well as with Rob and Lisa on the South Shore Morning News!) Her proudest academic achievement is being a TOMODACHI scholar and contributing to an iBook about American Senator and war hero Daniel Inouye, which led her all across Japan in her many school travels. Thanks to her time in Japan, and a semester abroad in the Netherlands, Mimi has an appetite for stories and all kinds of art across the globe.