The Maine Department of Marine Resources manages this system for a commercial escapement of 35 fish per acre. The spawning escapement need for this system is 5,950 river herring passed upstream through three closed days per week during the fishery. The management plan has always achieved returns to meet the target escapement developed for this system or passed the entire run for the season. The DMR does not permit the river herring fishery in the main stem of the Eastern River. The Eastern River provides available spawning habitat for blueback herring, American shad, and striped bass. The fishery for river herring occurs upstream of the confluence of the Eastern River and Mill Stream, which leads to Dresden Bog.
The Eastern River is one of several rivers in Maine that protect spawning populations of anadromous fish through gear restrictions, time/area closures, and seasons. The Eastern River is a free flowing tidal river without any upstream barriers to delay upstream passage. There are no estimates of numbers blueback herring spawning in the Eastern River, though numbers may be as high as several hundred thousand based on the available habitat. Alewives do not spawn in the main stem of the Eastern River. In general spawning success of alewives in Maine rivers and hydropower headponds is poor.