Report: Cape Cod herring population plummeting

nefsc.noaa.gov photo

BREWSTER, Mass. — Figures from a group dedicated to preserving Cape Cod’s natural resources indicate the number of herring fish coming upstream to spawn dramatically fell over the past two years.

The Cape Cod Times reports nine of the 23 Cape streams and rivers monitored by the Association to Preserve Cape Cod saw declines.

The group estimated Cape Cod’s Stony Brook herring run size at more than 270,000 in 2014, up from about 41,000 in 2012. That number fell to nearly 252,000 in 2015 and to nearly 89,000 this year.

Scientists in 2005 estimated that river herring had shrunk to only 5 percent of the historic population. Many coastal states, including Massachusetts, have moratoriums on harvesting river herring.

State officials say Massachusetts saw gains and losses and they’re not highly concerned.

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