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51. Dwindling Herring and Clearing the Coastline

Matt McKenzie, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and American Studies Coordinator, University of Connecticut, Avery Point and Patrick Paquette, a community organizer who represents bass fishing organizations in Massachusetts talk with Rob about where have all the herring gone and how Cape Cod has changed over two centuries from a vibrant fishing community to something completely different.

Prof McKenzie tells the social and ecological history of the rise and demise of Cape Cod’s coastal fisheries in the nineteenth century.  His book, Clearing the Coastline, includes Thoreau’s thoughts on Cape Cod fisheries and how these were adjusted by posthumous publishers to better fit what they wished to promote.  Matt also tells of helping out at a family’s herring weirs on Cape Cod and of a fisherman well known to Patrick Paquette.

Patrick Paquette explains early efforts to save herring by collaborating with diverse interest groups in the CHOIR collaborations “where different voices came to sing in harmony.”  He also noted a striped bass food shortage along the East Coast caused by industrial-scale fishing of coastal herring, mackerel and menhaden.

This year NMFS and the New England Fishery Management Council failed to take measures to stem the decline of sea herring, river herring, and shad populations. Join in our efforts to save river herring, click here for more information on ORI actions.