The commercial fishery at Vassalboro began in 2009 as the result of a restoration project at Webber Pond started by the Maine Department of Marine Resources in 2000. Until 2009, alewives were unable to reach spawning habitat in Vassalboro unless they were hand dipped over the dam (Figure 21). Upstream passage now provides access to spawning habitat within this municipality. The Maine Department of Marine Resources proposed to manage this system for a commercial escapement of 35 fish per acre. The municipality currently chooses to have the commercial harvester pass at least 80,000 into spawning habitat spaced out throughout the season, higher than the number recommended by DMR. The spawning escapement need for this system is 42,035 river herring passed upstream through three closed days per week during the season. The management plan has achieved the target escapement developed for this system during both years that the commercial harvest occurred. Current returns to the commercial fishery are the result of trap and transfer operations that initially stocked the system with approximately 6 fish per acre though an agreement with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
There is no spawning in the stream leading to Webber Pond. Like many of the small streams that lead to spawning habitat in lakes and ponds in Maine the stream is often plugged with beaver dams. The harvester must obtain a permit to remove these dams prior to downstream migration in the fall and the spawning run in the spring.