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.
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.
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