PO Box 51, Dresden, Maine 04342 info@alewifeharvesters.org 207-441-3006

AHOM Testifies Before ASMFC River Herring and Shad Management Board

Madam Chair Fegley,

It is with my pleasure that I come here today to represent the Alewife Harvesters of Maine(AHOM) as the River Herring and Shad Management Board takes on the important task of creating a benchmark stock assessment for these keystone species of the marine ecosystem, but also to coastal fishing communities and fishermen up and down the coast. 

This stock assessment is something that is of the upmost importance to the Alewife Harvesters of Maine because we are fortunate enough to still be beneficiaries of healthy runs throughout our state, making our cultural and economic connections strong. 

It is my hope that if you remember anything from my testimony today, that it be this:  It may be counter-intuitive, but it is not a strange coincidence that the healthiest fish runs, and strongholds for these species are in the same place that we directly harvest the majority of river herring in our country.  In fact, it is BECAUSE of this harvest, and this connection to these fish, that we have undertaken the difficult work to restore, to monitor and to locally manage river herring.

It is this connection of ours, to these fish, that makes this stock assessment and the decisions that follow, of such importance to us, and why we would like to be considered in the document and in the discussion.

Stock assessments are a place to look at a resource as a whole.  They look at ecological connections and activities that make fish and that take fish, and then are the basis for how we make decisions. Assessments have not taken into account the human dimension and connection, and we believe that is a mistake.

We urge this board to make certain that the technical committee and stock assessment staff look at these human connections.  Look at the benefits of stewardship connected to harvest.  Look at what has been done in Maine (by harvesters and other stewards) to restore habitat and monitor and to make fish, and find ways to incentivize those beneficial connections and activities, in the same way that they would disincentivize a practice that harms fish populations.

The current metrics that are in place for alewife harvesters to be able to prosecute a fishery, act more as a deterrent to monitoring and data collection, than as an incentive.

We believe that Maine’s socio-economic and cultural connection to these fish is directly related to the work that we have done in monitoring and restoring these fish.  Our connection to these fish, and the successes we have had in making fish, should be used as an example of how fishermen and managers can share goals and objectives and work together.  But we need to be considered, and that is what we ask for today.


Jeffrey Pierce,  Executive Director

Remembering Ed Courtenay

With heavy hearts, we had to say goodbye to our dear friend and Board Member, Ed Courtenay (pictured to the far left). Our deepest condolences go out to his family and loved ones. Ed made a big impact on his community and those lucky enough to be around him. He was a longtime Fish Warden to the Town of Warren and contributed greatly to our organization’s efforts. He will be dearly missed by all of us at Alewife Harvesters of Maine.

Join us at the 2020 Maine Fishermen’s Forum!

We hope to see everyone at the Forum. Our Annual meeting will take place on Saturday morning (details below) and we will have a booth on both Friday and Saturday. Come say hello and tell us about your River Herring restoration work, how your River Herring Harvest is going or anything else you want to share about River Herring. See you there!

Annual Meeting at the Maine Fisherman’s Forum

March 7th 2020, 10:30am – 12:00pm, At the Golf Club at the Samoset Resort


10:30am     Alewife Harvesters of Maine Business Meeting,

Treasurer’s Report and board members introduction

10:40am     The Road to 50 Million Alewives!

Three organizations will present on some of the progress made to restore river herring to Maine’s coast in 2019.

                  Landis Hudson, Maine Rivers

                  Brett Ciccotelli, Downeast Salmon Federation

                  Nate Gray, Department of Marine Resources, on behalf of the Alewife Interaction Committee

11:25am     Department of Marine Resources update

Updates on any Federal or State rule changes, restoration projects from 2019 and Department priorities looking forward in 2020.

2019 Maine Fishermen’s Forum

The Maine Fishermen’s Forum is HERE! Alewife Harvesters of Maine will be there with a booth and our annual session. Our session will be:

Saturday March 2nd from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Golf Club Room

Samoset Resort – 220 Warren Street, Rockport, ME 04856

We will be discussing the status of our fishery and river herring restoration efforts across our state. Your participation in our session is essential to our goal of collaboratively restoring 54 million river herring to Maine rivers.

Have you been working on river herring restoration? Please come to our booth and tell us about it; put your pin on our map. We hope to see you there and talk alewives!

River Herring Commercial Harvests

Are you looking for fresh bait this spring? River herring, alewives and blueback herring, are a good source of bait for lobster and halibut fishing. River herring are typically harvested in May until early June.

Below are a list of all towns that currently harvest river herring commercially:

  • Alna
  • Bath
  • Benton
  • Cherryfield
  • Dresden
  • East Machias
  • Ellsworth
  • Franklin
  • Gouldsboro
  • Jefferson
  • Newcastle
  • Nobleboro
  • Orland
  • Perry
  • Phippsburg
  • Steuben
  • Sullivan
  • Vassalboro
  • West Bath
  • Warren
  • Woolwich


LD 922: Support fish passage in Sheepscot Pond

Representative Jeffrey Pierce and fisheries activist Bailey Bowden of Penobscot, ME have a call to action to allow passage of river herring and other fish into Sheepscot Pond. For more information contact Jeffrey Pierce at jeffrey@alewifeharvesters.org or (207) 441-3006.

LD 922: An Act Directing the Commissioner of Marine Resources To Investigate the Conditions of Sheepscot Pond Related to a Management Plan for Anadromous Fish Species. Read the bill in full: http://bit.ly/2A1zKjh

If you would like to contact your local legislator click this link: http://legislature.maine.gov/house/townlist.htm

If you would like to contact anyone from the Marine Resources Committee of the Legislature click this link: http://legislature.maine.gov/house/jt_com/mar.htm

River Herring: Open for Harvest​

You’re invited to​ River Herring: Open for Harvest​

Hosted by Alewife Harvesters of Maine​

When: Thursday September 14th from 9​:00 ​am – 3​:00 ​pm

Where: Jeff’s Catering in Brewer

For meeting documents contact Sarah Madronal, sarah@mainesalmonrivers.org or follow this link.

Join us for a day focused on river herring restoration work and other efforts to open river herring runs for harvest in Maine. Come hear about restoration success stories as well as past and current efforts to open harvest runs across the state. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss what success looks like for river herring restoration and explore how we can get there together as individuals, communities, organizations and government with shared knowledge of all of the issues, management practices, and mutually understood expectations for next steps to open river herring harvests and continue river restoration work. Mike Brown, Department of Marine Resources, will give a presentation on the how to’s and current management practices of opening a river herring harvest run with ​a facilitated ​question​ and answer period. All are welcome​ and we encourage all who are involved in the river herring fishery in Maine to come and share their experiences opening or continuing river herring harvests​.

Alewife Harvesters of Maine would like to thank our partners for sponsoring this meeting including, ​Department of Marine ​Resources, Downeast Fisheries Partnership, Downeast Salmon Federation, and Maine​ Center for Coastal ​Fisheries.​


9:00                 Welcome and Focus for the Day – Jeff Pierce, AHOM

9:10                 Working Together Today

Develop Working Agreements

9:15                 Making Restoration Happen

Panel members reflect on their experiences restoring runs

  • Panelists: Nate Gray (DMR), Anne Hayden (DFP), Jeff Pierce (AHOM), Dwayne Shaw (DSF), and Mike Thalhauser (MCCF)

10:30               Stretch break

10:45               Identify What Leads to Success

Break into table discussions with panel members around the questions:

  1. What does success look like? How do we define it?
  2. What can we learn from our collective experiences about:
    1. The elements that fuel success?
    2. The roadblocks?
  3. What are the big statewide questions that we want to answer?

Table facilitators will write responses on flip charts and post them

11:35               The Story of Opening a Recent River Herring Run – Darrell Young

12:00               Buffett lunch

12:45               Process and Regulations for Setting up a River Herring Run

Mike Brown, DMR –  Presentation (30 minutes), Q & A including topics from the morning session (45 minutes)

2:00                 Identify Major Elements of What Success Looks Like

From the table discussions and Darrell’s Donnell Pond project, summarize what we are aiming for and how we can incorporate into existing/future projects

2:30                 Common Understanding of Next Steps and Accountability

What needs to happen next?  Who will do what?  How will accountability work?

2:50                 Closing Remarks – Jeff Pierce, AHOM

3:00                 Conclude

Please contact Sarah Madronal for more information​ and RSVP to sarah@mainesalmonrivers.org​. Feel free to share this meeting announcement with anyone who may be interested.

Welcome to Alewife Harvesters of Maine

Welcome to Alewife Harvesters of Maine’s new and improved website! Our mission is to encourage and promote conservation, habitat restoration, and unimpeded passage; to promote sustainability in harvest plans; and to encourage community-based management plans that ensure the health of the alewife and blueback herring runs, so that they can be harvested annually.

Check back often for river herring resource materials, updates on the current river herring season and ways to get involved with river herring in your community. Also follow us on Facebook!