A report upon the alewife fisheries of Massachusetts. Division of fisheries and game. Department of conservation
7 development. The length of this report does not permit the publication of many interesting details concerning the various fisheries, complete records of which are on file with the Division of Fisheries and Game. Acknowledgments. -The greater part of the statistical and survey work was conducted in a most capable manner by Mr. Roy 8. Corwin, to whom special commendation is due for his excellent and accurate descriptions of the numerous streams and fisheries. The observations on the spawning
... on the spawning and artificial propagation of the alewife were made in 1919 and 1920 by Mr. J. A. Kitson. Our sincere thanks are due to the many holders of the alewife privileges, both past and present, and to alewife dealers, for their ready co-operation, with few exceptions, in furnishing reliable information as to the yield, methods of operation and history of the fisheries. We are also deeply indebted to town officials, particularly to town clerks and members of herring committees, for their courtesy in furnishing valuable records. Methods of Investigation. -The work consisted of three parts: (1) a survey of the coastal streams; (2) a statistical study of fishing methods; and (3) an investigation of the life history and habits of the alewife. The survey comprised a biological examination and personal inspection of each stream, with maps and descriptions of all important features. Special emphasis was placed on the condition and accessibility of the spawning grounds, the location of dams, presence or absence of fishways, the volume of water in the stream, and possible sources of pollution, both trade waste and sewage. The life history and habits were observed at the spring runs, on the spawning grounds and during artificial. hatching. The various methods of operating the fishery under town control were studied from the standpoint of efficiency and the resulting effect upon general conditions in the different streams. The testimony of members of herring committees, operators of fisheries, fish dealers and townspeople interested in the fisheries" was taken, and the town records were examined for local regulations. Statistics, both past and present, were gathered from all available sources, including town documents, fish committee reports and various legislative enactments. NATURAL HISTORY. Species. -The herrings, Clupeide, are characterized by an oblong body, absence of the lateral line, and by cycloid scales. While the majority of the numerous herring species are confined to the ocean, some ascend the coastal rivers for the purpose of spawning. In the latter class is the alewife (Pomolobus pseudoharengus), which is reported by Bean (1) as landlocked in the lakes of New York. In Massachusetts waters the principal allied species capable of being confused with the alewife are the adult and young of both the sea herring (Clupea harengus) and the glut herring (Pomolobus estivalis), and the young menhaden (Brevoortia tyrranus). Names. -The scientific name of the alewife is Pomolobus pseudoharengus (Wilson), although the term Clupea venialis was used by McDonald in 1880, and Alosa tyrranus and Clupea tyrranus by Lyman in 1872. The common names of this species are branch herring; spring herring; alewife in New England, with the modifications of ellwife or ellvhop on the Connecticut River; big-eyed or wall-eyed herring on the Albemarle River; grey back, to distinguish it from the blueback, blackback or glut herring; and gaspereau and kyack in Canada.