Alewife Monitoring

River Herring (Alewives) are a unique fishery in Maine because they are managed by the state and Federal government, however, Maine municipalities or towns that have an alewife run are able to manage their local fishery if they monitor them and can show that they are sustainable.

This co-management system of managing river herring has led to some exciting collaborative research that builds on those monitoring efforts.

Towns are going beyond just wanting to know how many fish they have and are asking big questions about the role that alewives play in our fresh and marine ecological systems.  

MCCF is working with people in the towns of Brooksville, Penobscot and Sedgwick to answer these questions in their own communities and we work across the state and in the policy world to improve this local research and management system.

MCCF is working with these towns by:

  1. Coordinating monitoring activities to estimate total spawning populations of alewives into all drainage ponds that support alewives in the Bagaduce River estuary;

  2. Helping run a purse seine survey to evaluate juvenile alewife abundance and health that emerge from these ponds;

  3. Helping run a beach seine survey in Northern Bay to identify and understand estuarine habitats that are important for rearing alewife in order to protect them; and,

  4. Connecting these local managers and researchers to a network of other research entities like the Universities of Maine and Massachusetts to add capacity to their research.