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Assessing the Sustainability of Maine’s River Herring Runs. Sampling Municipal Harvests, Local Runs, and Restoration Sites. Claire Enterline, Municipal Harvest Coordinator, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources Maine Fisherman’s Forum March 2, 2013. Reminder – 2013 Harvest Rights.

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Assessing the sustainability of maine s river herring runs

Assessing the Sustainability of Maine’s River Herring Runs

Sampling Municipal Harvests, Local Runs,

and Restoration Sites

Claire Enterline, Municipal Harvest Coordinator, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources

Maine Fisherman’s Forum

March 2, 2013


Reminder 2013 harvest rights
Reminder – 2013 Harvest Rights

Towns must send in harvest rights and harvest plans

NO later than APRIL 20

Send into DMR:

  • Town article approved by selectman or town vote (however town approves articles)

  • Article stating that the town wishes to exercise their River Herring Harvest Rights, and stating whether there will be a Conservation Closure or refer to the town’s Harvest Plan

  • Harvest Plans may vary by town, but must follow the DMR guidelines

    Reminder sheets with more info in the back


River herring populations what s the problem
River Herring Populations: What’s the problem?

Coast-wide River Herring Landings 1950-2007, NMFS

  • Greater than 93% DECREASE in U.S. commercial landings since the 1970s


Maine municipal river herring alewife blueback herring harvests 1950 2012
Maine Municipal River Herring (Alewife + Blueback Herring) Harvests 1950-2012


Atlantic states marine fisheries commission
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission

  • The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) was formed by the 15 Atlantic coast states in 1942 in recognition that fish do not adhere to political boundaries.

  • Deliberative body, coordinating the conservation and management of the states shared near shore fishery resources – marine, shell, and anadromous – for sustainable use.

  • Healthy, self-sustaining populations for all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015.

ASMFC.org


Asmfc shad and river herring amendment 2
ASMFC Shad and River Herring Amendment 2

Objectives of Amendment 2 for River Herring:

  • Prevent further declines

  • Improve our understanding of bycatch mortality

  • Increase our understanding of river herring fisheries, stock dynamics and population health through fishery-dependent and independent monitoring, in order to allow for evaluation of management performance.

  • Promote improvements in degraded or historic habitat


Asmfc shad and river herring amendment 21
ASMFC Shad and River Herring Amendment 2

Management and Implementation

  • Close fisheries (commercial/recreational) with exceptions for systems with a sustainable fishery

  • Habitat Conservation and Restoration

    • Dams, removal or fish passage

    • Water Quality

    • Stock Enhancement

    • Permitting/Re-licensing of Dams


What makes a sustainable fishery
What makes a sustainable fishery?

  • Commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish potential future stock reproduction and recruitment

  • Sustainability targets – State defined

    For Maine:

    • Self-sustaining population

      Not supplemented by outside stocking

    • Fish passage counts or estimations

      Harvest + Escapement over 235 fish/surface acre

    • Spawning stock biomass

      How many spawning fish are there?

    • Repeat spawning ratio


Why are we collecting samples
Why are we collecting samples?

To gather information to assess

the sustainability of the run over time

Repeat Spawning

Age Structure

Number of Fish

3 4 5 6 7

Age


What information do we get from scales
What information do we get from scales?

  • Species

  • Age

  • Repeat Spawning


What do we not get from scale samples
What do we NOT get from scale samples?

Size of the run

  • Must be over 235 returning adults per surface acre of lake/pond

  • Estimated from harvests or by a fish count

Escapement target

(35 fish/acre) = 20,000


Why does dmr take additional samples
Why does DMR take additional samples?

  • Length-at-age if not recorded by the harvester/volunteer

  • To make sure we have a sample if few/none are collected

Age


Species information
Species Information

Alewife

Dominate all harvests

Spawn earlier (May)

Spawn in lakes and ponds

Blueback Herring

Spawn later (early-mid June)

Spawn in mainstem of rivers




Why do we need to know the species
Why do we need to know the species?

Alewife

Blueback Herring

Total Length (mm)

Age


Age distributions and length at age
Age Distributions and Length at Age


Does length at age differ between sites
Does length at age differ between sites?

Damariscotta Mills

Grist Mill Stream

Card Mill Stream

Wight Pond

Dyer River

Mean = 272 mm

Mean = 269 mm

Mean = 280 mm

Mean = 289 mm

Mean = 262 mm

Length (mm)

Age (years)


Age composition
Age composition

Differences between runs can be due to history, harvesting practices, and environmental variability


Age composition1
Age composition

Between years there are changes in mortality at each site – need to look at multiple years!


Repeat spawning when an individual fish comes back to spawn year after year
Repeat Spawning:When an individual fish comes back to spawn year after year





What makes a sustainable fishery1
What makes a sustainable fishery?

Commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish potential future stock reproduction and recruitment

For Maine:

Self-sustaining population

Not supplemented by outside stocking

Fish passage counts or estimations

Harvest + Escapement over 235 fish/surface acre

Spawning stock biomass

How many spawning fish are there?

Repeat spawning ratio


Questions
Questions?

Claire Enterline, Municipal Harvest Coordinator

172 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333

Phone: (207) 624 – 6341

Email: [email protected]


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