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Nature’s wondrous herring run draws a crowd in Middleboro

There is still a three-year moratorium on taking fish, but the run is getting stronger.

 By Alice C. Elwell

Enterprise correspondent Posted May 02, 2008 @ 02:04 AM


Middleboro’s pride, the return of the native herring, is drawing tourists, seagulls and woodland creatures to the shores of the Nemasket River.

The tourists can look, but there is still a three-year moratorium banning the taking of herring. But try telling that to the seagulls, foxes and raccoons hunting for a tasty treat.

This is the last year of the moratorium and, even though the run is stronger than last year, if Herring Fisheries Chairman Ron Burgess has his way it will stay in place even longer.

The recent heavy rains have slowed the herring count to about 17 fish every 10 minutes. At the run’s peak on April 10, wardens were counting 870 herring at the Wareham Street run. Burgess said the migration will last through the month before the water gets too warm for the herring.

Burgess said the first herring was spotted by warden David Lemmo at the beginning of March.

“Then they started ganging up at the falls on Wareham Street,” he said.

Seagulls hovering over the Nemasket River followed the herring up the Taunton River from Mount Hope Bay.

The herring are making their way to the Assawompset Pond complex, where they will lay eggs before returning to the Atlantic Ocean.

“Not a lot make it back to the sea,” Burgess said.

The current batch that is heading to the ponds were hatched at least three years ago, Burgess said.

There is still time to view the spectacle, and Burgess said volunteers are needed to count. The automatic counter was tossed as it couldn’t handle the volumes of fish and caused a backup, restricting their movements, Burgess said.

Volunteers should call Burgess at 508-947-8918 or David J. Cavanaugh 508-947-2220.

Copyright 2008 Wicked Local Middleborough. Some rights reserved

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