Environmental Police Arrest Alleged Herring Poacher in Eastham

Charged with illegally harvesting river herring...
An Environmental Police officer caught an alleged poacher in the act of taking these river herring in Eastham Saturday. (MEP photo)

From the Mass. Environmental Police:

On the morning of Saturday, May 18, 2019, a Massachusetts Environmental Police Officer found an individual actively taking herring from the Herring Brook Road area in Eastham.

The individual, who had been observed taking herring on several occasions during a coordinated surveillance operation with the Eastham Department of Natural Resources, was subsequently arrested and charged with multiple counts of illegally harvesting river herring. Additional charges may be pending. 

River herring are ecologically important creatures as they are a forage for many marine and freshwater predators, such as striped bass. Additionally, they are a crucial link in the transfer of nutrients from freshwater to marine systems and vice versa. In 2005, in response to an alarming decline in population, Massachusetts placed a moratorium on the harvest, possession, and sale of river herring. In 1921, when monitoring of the species began in the Mattapoisett River, there were 1.85 million river herring counted - in 2016 that number dropped to just 18,540. More than 100 Massachusetts coastal rivers and streams are home to river herring; however, the decline is not isolated to the Commonwealth alone. Preservation of these natural resources is crucial to the sustainability of our marine environment.


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