Management Plan for River Herring in the Connecticut River Basin




alewife, Alosa aestivalis, Alosa pseudoharengus, anadromous fish, blueback herring, Connecticut River, habitat, herring, migration, restoration, river herring, spawning


None supplied. Introduction: River herring is a collective term for the alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and blueback herring, Alosa aestivalis, two anadromous fish species that are related to the American shad. The coastal range of the alewife extends from northeastern Newfoundland to South Carolina, while that of the blueback herring extends from Nova Scotia to Florida. Both species undertake upriver spawning migrations during spring. Alewives may live as long as 10 years and reach a length of 36 cm (13 in.). Due to similarities in size, appearance, and habits, the two species were seldom discriminated and thus the term 'river herring,' referring to either or both species, often appears in the literature and historical records. River herring were abundant historically in streams throughout New England but have experienced a decline in this century. There is ample evidence of the existance of river herring throughout the lower Connecticut River basin. Blueback herring range in the mainstem extends to Bellows Falls, VT, similar to American shad. Unlike blueback herring, alewives are rarely found in the Connecticut River north of Holyoke, MA. The most important factor limiting herring populations appears to be restricted access to spawning and rearing habitat due to dams. However, the population has continued to decline despite recent habitat restoration efforts, suggesting other detrimental factors like unfavorable marine conditions and/or overabundance of striped bass.

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