Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project

  • Collection DOI:
    Principal Investigator:
    Abigail Franklin Archer
  • This is a collection of interviews with people who serve the role of, “herring warden” in their respective towns in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As of July 2019 interviews are still being conducted and added to this database as they are completed.  Each audio file has been transcribed and photos are included if they were available.

    Massachusetts has more than 100 herring runs – rivers in which two species of fish known as ‘river herring’ migrate from the ocean into freshwater rivers and ponds to spawn.  Since the 1600s MA towns have appointed herring wardens to regulate the harvest of Alosa pseudoharengusand Alosa aestivalisand maintain clear passage for them to the spawning grounds.  In-river harvest of these fish has been important for a long time – they were used as food by Native Americans and early colonists. The harvest continued to be important for food, fertilizer and bait right up until 2006.  Starting in 2006 the MA Division of Marine Fisheries prohibited harvest in response to declining populations.

    The interviews were conducted by Abigail Archer, a Marine Resource Specialist and Extension Agent with the Barnstable County Cooperative Extension Marine Program and Woods Hole Sea Grant.  She coordinates a group in Massachusetts called the, “River Herring Network” that is composed of town river herring wardens from Cape Cod and Southeastern MA. 

     

Interviewee Description Interviewer Date of Interview Location of Interview Affiliation Collection
Henry Lind

Henry Lind began working for the Town of Eastham in Barnstable County in 1971 as a shellfish warden and conservation agent. In this oral history, conducted with Abigail Franklin Archer of the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension's Marine Program and Woods Hole Sea Grant, he covers topics such as his graduate work at the University of Delaware, enforcing harvesting laws, herring run maintenance and how river herring runs have changed during the course of his career.

Abigail Franklin Archer Barnstable, MA Woods Hole Sea Grant, Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project
Doug Kalweit

As part of the Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project, Doug Kalweit of the Town of Barnstable shares his recollections of Cape Cod's herring runs and his thoughts on present-day herring management. Since 1972, Kalweit has worked for the Town of Barnstable and is now the Supervisor of the Barnstable Natural Resources Department. The interview is conducted by Abigail Franklin Archer, Marine Resource Specialist with the Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Marine Program and Woods Hole Sea Grant.

Abigail Franklin Archer Centerville, MA Woods Hole Sea Grant, Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project
Frank & Marian Borek

Oral history interview with herring wardens Frank and Marian Borek, of Brewster, Massachusetts. Interview contains descriptions of cooking herring, duties as a herring warden as well as family and occupational background. Frank and Marian Borek offer insights into the Brewster herring run based on observations made during their years of service

Abigail Franklin Archer Brewster, MA Woods Hole Sea Grant, Barnstable County Cape Cod Cooperative Extension Cape Cod River Herring Warden Oral History Project