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  #1  
Old 04-06-2005, 02:30 PM
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Default HERRING FISHING BAN: Seacoast NH

Herring fishing banned in two rivers

By Sean Jackson
[email protected]


PORTSMOUTH - The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has prohibited commercial harvest of river herring in the Squamscott and Taylor rivers. The announcement came at a public hearing on Tuesday night.
Chief of New Hampshire Marine Fisheries John Nelson cited a significant decrease over the past two years in herring traversing fish ladders on the rivers into fresh water. According to Nelson, the number of herring has dropped from thousands to less than 100 fish.

"(We?re) trying to get more herring back to the rivers, and then seeing what we want to do in future years," he said.

The closure, however, did not sit well with many fishermen attending the hearing at the Urban Forestry Center.

Many of the fishermen use the herring primarily for baiting purposes. Several expressed concern over the legitimacy of relying on the fish ladders to get herring to fresh water, and to base the closure on the number of fish crossing the ladders. A few fisherman offered to help transport herring to fresh water so that the harvest would not be closed completely.

According to Nelson, there have been no problems with the ladders, specifically on the Squamscott.

"It?s been working fine for the two years in which we have had concern. When we have two years in a row with those numbers, we have to take some action," he said.

The prohibition applies to the Squamscott River from the Route 108 Bridge to the Great Dam in Exeter. The closed section of the Taylor is from the railroad bridge to the head of the tide dam in Hampton. Also on the agenda was the notice that cod, haddock and winter flounder will be allowed to be taken recreationally only during the months of April, May and June. The daily limit being no more than 10 cod and eight winter flounder per person.

"The stock is actually doing much better up our way ... we want to ensure that momentum continues," Nelson said, referring specifically to flounder populations.

In other business, Nelson announced that the minimum length for lobster taken will remain the same as last year?s restrictions at 3? inches. The legal length applies to area one of the American Lobster Management regions, running roughly half the Gulf of Maine down to the tip of Cape Cod.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Fishing Ban" means DON'T TOUCH.



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  #2  
Old 04-06-2005, 04:04 PM
BostonBoy BostonBoy is offline
 
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I'm happy they put a ban on those two rivers...
I know alot of guys were pissed about the decision, but if they didn't do anything then there would be no herring...

...Those numbers of the herring crossing into the fresh, are kinda scary...
Its amazing how the numbers can get so low...

Overall I think its a good thing... :D ...hopefully other states will follow suit...

I don't want herring to turn into the Menhaden of New England...
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:07 PM
Stripersteve Stripersteve is offline
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Quote:
Also on the agenda was the notice that cod, haddock and winter flounder will be allowed to be taken recreationally only during the months of April, May and June. The daily limit being no more than 10 cod and eight winter flounder per person.
why don't they just lower the limit to 5 cod per person and let us fish all summer..........
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Old 04-06-2005, 10:32 PM
BostonBoy BostonBoy is offline
 
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Thats seems like its gonna hit the charters/headboats pretty hard this year...but they'll probably run offshore outside the limits or move to other state's waters...
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stripersteve
Quote:
Also on the agenda was the notice that cod, haddock and winter flounder will be allowed to be taken recreationally only during the months of April, May and June. The daily limit being no more than 10 cod and eight winter flounder per person.
why don't they just lower the limit to 5 cod per person and let us fish all summer..........
More than likely because the everyday charters smash the fishery pretty good, and keep every friggin fish that hits the deck. I've been on charters and seen kids take ICE CHESTS full of Bluefish meat home with them. Ridiculous. Same with cod, haddock, and the "good meat". Most people dont "throw back", especially when they are out on the open water and they think nobody is watching. It's because of disrespectful scum, that all the real "sportsmen" have to pay. No "personal" keep needs to be that large....unless people are trying to feed there whole family of a supposed 27, and the 75 illegal immigrants in their basement.

Soon enough, everything will be out of control because nobody speaks out, then we'll be back to the days of crappy Striped Bass fishing. nature has its own way of punishment.



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Old 04-07-2005, 08:04 AM
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I think that should only pertain to the coastal waters within the 3 mile zone,after that it becomes intestate waters..but I'm not 100% certain..

I also saw that the herring part was worded "comercial harvest" does this still allow recrational fisherman the righ to catch them for bait????
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Old 04-07-2005, 05:13 PM
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As far as I know, most of the spots they are talking about are off limits anyway to recreational anglers. There is conservation area at the head of tide dam in Hampton, and people arent supposed to be in there fishing. But I often have guys tell me they trudge through the woods out near 95 and fish it anyway, keeping an eye and making sure there's no Conservation Officers around. Then I tell them I am going to report them



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Old 04-07-2005, 05:40 PM
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Thanks for the clarification.
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Old 04-17-2005, 05:29 PM
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Alewives in decline

By Johanna Maranto
[email protected]

Editor�s note: This is the first of a three-part exploration of the current plight and past glory of the alewife on the Squamscott and Exeter rivers.

EXETER - A stunning decline in the number of alewife and blueback herring passing through the Exeter fish ladder in the past two years has state Fish and Game Department staff concerned, perplexed and prepared to take action.

In years past, 6,000 to 7,000 herring have made their way from the Squamscott to the Exeter River to spawn, according to John Nelson, head of Marine Fisheries for the department. In 2003, the number plummeted to just 80 fish over the ladder at the Great Dam and rose no higher in 2004.

The time to plan action was at hand. A ban on harvesting alewives and blue backs has been proposed to commence at the end of this month.

The river herring head up the Squamscott from the Atlantic Ocean each spring to spawn, heading over the ladder at the Great Dam, and spawning in the freshwater Exeter River.

In the 1960s, N.H. Fish and Game began the construction of fishways on coastal rivers in an effort to restore the migratory fish runs. Dams are an impediment to the fish migration, Nelson said, but "once the ladders were installed we had pretty good returns."

The Great Dam in Exeter was built primarily to power the local mills. According to Donald Clement, chairman of the Exeter Conservation Commission, over the years since the mills shut down the river has "cleaned itself up."

"Until 18 years ago you never even saw ice fishing shacks on the river. Now there are great smelt runs. Striped bass, which follow the river herring, now come right up to the falls," said Clement.

Understanding of a tightly wrought ecosystem is key to determining the causes of the decline in the numbers of herring making it over the dam.

According to Clement, such factors as the amount of water over the dam, water quality above the dam, increased sediment due to development and over-fishing are all possible contributors.

"No one can say if it�s any one of those or a combination," said Clement, "but a lot of people have a lot of concern. Have we lost a generation of fish? Did something happen to that fish stock fry (baby herring population)?"

Several possible causes - including a breach in the dam or problems with the ladder itself - have been ruled out.

Nelson also said it does not appear that the river herring are getting caught in the ocean. There is evidence of occasional alewife as by-catch due to trawling, but in no great numbers.

So concerned are fish and game officials by this trend that they held a hearing in Portsmouth to gather public comment on the proposed harvesting ban.

"I don�t want to give the impression that this is all because of fishermen. It�s just one consideration," said Nelson.

He added, "The other rivers seem to be doing well. We are not shutting off the ability to get bait in the estuary," but he said fishermen "may need to travel to one of the other rivers."

Nelson said a ban is only to encourage the return of the herring. "We�ll try to get more back to the river, then evaluate how successful we were this year. If thousands moved this year, if I saw 4,000, I would be very happy. We�d be comfortable."

Steven Courchesne, a fisherman from Hooksett, was one of the fishermen who attended the hearing. He said he has been harvesting river herring below the Great Dam the past five years. "I always catch my fish. I get my 300 pounds every year."

Courchesne and fellow fishermen said they see thousands of fish below the Exeter dam each year. "Tens of thousands of them," said Courchesne. "Schools of them as big as an acre."

Courchesne has volunteered his services to the fish and game department to catch herring and haul them over the dam. He said that in just a couple of hours, one man catching and two men hauling could transfer 4,000 fish.

"I�ve done it for the state in the past. We transferred freshwater smelt, going to New York, traveling four hours at night and fishing until 5 a.m. This would require very little effort compared to that. It�s 300 feet. If they want 4,000 fish over the dam, I�ll do it. I�m willing to help."

Nelson expressed reservation about department resources to support such an effort by the fishermen, but said he would discuss this proposal with his staff.

Nelson said many other factors affecting the lack of herring climbing the ladder are being studied.

The fish and game department is working with the town of Exeter to avoid unmanaged flows or discharge from the dam. Development in the area may also effect the riverbed and negatively impact spawning conditions.

(See part II of this series on Tuesday.)

The fishermen have requested that the department consider a restriction, rather than the proposed ban. Nelson said that he would take the suggestion under advisement, and the department would make a final decision by the end of April.

Courchesne said, "We only have 16 miles of coastline compared to all of the East Coast. Herring spawn up and down the entire East Coast and in to Albany - in every tributary. So what�s the big deal about this little river? I hate to see something taken away. I�ve seen things taken away by New Hampshire from sportsmen before, and never given back."

Coming Tuesday: A look at other factors contributing to the depleted herring stock.

Fish tales

# River herring - alewives and bluebacks - are anadromous fish, critical to both ocean and freshwater ecology.

# In saltwater, they provide food for larger species of fish such as striped bass, cod and pollock.

# Four- and 5-year-old adult river herring travel from saltwater to freshwater rivers from April to June to spawn and then return to the ocean.

# Juvenile river herring provide forage for freshwater species such as bass and trout as they migrate from August to October to the ocean.

# Humans harvest the herring as bait, primarily for lobstering

# Herring are also used as food and fertilizer.



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  #10  
Old 04-22-2005, 08:22 PM
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More on the Herring in Exeter....

"Once abundant"...

http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/e...news/38462.htm



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