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River Herring and American Shad

NH Fish and Game's Marine Fisheries Division monitors the annual spring spawning runs of anadromous fish, such as river herring PDF Document (alewives and blueback herring) and American shad, in six coastal and estuarine river systems along the coast of New Hampshire, with the goal of restoring these spawning runs to historic levels.

 

Anadromous fish migrate between the ocean and freshwater during various life stages.

 

Annual Spawning Run Updates

 

Each year Fish and Game biologists open the Department's six fish ladders at the beginning of April to monitor anadromous fish spawning runs in New Hampshire's coastal rivers.

 

The following Table shows the river herring spawning run totals passing through the Department’s monitored fish ladders since the construction of these fishways.¬† As this year’s spawning runs commence (generally mid-April through the end of June) we will be updating this page with bi-weekly totals.

 

River Herring Spawning Run Totals
Year Cocheco River Exeter River Oyster River Lamprey River Taylor River Winnicut River Annual total
1972       2,528   2,528
1973       1,380   1,380
1974       1,627   1,627
1975   2,639   2,882   5,521
1976 9,500   11,777 3,951 450,000 475,228
1977 29,500   359 11,256   2,700++ 43,815
1978 1,925 205 419 20,461 168,256 3,229++ 194,495
1979 586 186 496 23,747 375,302 3,410++ 403,727
1980 7,713 2,516 2,921 26,512 205,420 4,393++ 249,475
1981 6,559 15,626 5,099 50,226 94,060 2,316++ 173,886
1982 4,129 542 6,563 66,189 126,182 2,500++ 206,105
1983 968 1 8,866 54,546 151,100 215,481
1984 477   5,179 40,213 45,600 91,469
1985 974   4,116 54,365 108,201 167,656
1986 2,612 1,125 93,024 46,623 117,000 1,000++ 261,384
1987 3,557 220 57,745 45,895 63,514 170,931
1988 3,915   73,866 31,897 30,297 139,975
1989 18,455   38,925 26,149 41,395 124,924
1990 31,697   154,588 25,457 27,210 238,952
1991 25,753 313 151,975 29,871 46,392 254,304
1992 72,491 537 157,024 16,511 49,108 295,671
1993 40,372 278 73,788 25,289 84,859 224,586
1994 33,140 * 91,974 14,119 42,164 181,397
1995 79,385 592 82,895 15,904 14,757 193,533
1996 32,767 248 82,362 11,200 10,113 136,690
1997 31,182 1,302 57,920 22,236 20,420 133,060
1998 25,277 392 85,116 15,947 11,979 219 138,930
1999 16,679 2,821 88,063 20,067 25,197 305 153,132
2000 30,938 533 70,873 25,678 44,010 528 172,560
2001 46,590 6,703 66,989 39,330 7,065 1,118 167,795
2002 62,472 3,341 58,179 58,065 5,829 7,041 194,927
2003 71,199 71 51,536 64,486 1,397 5,427 194,116
2004 47,934 83 52,934 66,333 1,055 8,044 176,383
2005 16,446 66 12,882 40,026 233 2,703 72,356
2006 4,318 16 6,035 23,471 147 822 34,809
2007 15,815 40 17,421 55,225 217** 7,543 96,261
2008 30,686 168 20,780 36,247 976 8,359 97,214
2009 36,165 513 11,661 42,425 * 4,974 95,737
2010 32,654 69 19,006 33,327 675 576+++ 86,307
2011 43,090 256 4,755 50,447 59 72+++ 99,338
2012 27,608 378 2,573 86,862 92 5+++ 117,518
2013 18,337 588 7,149 79,408 128 0 105,610
2014 29,968 789 4,227 84,868 57 0 119,909
2015 64,456 5,562 1,803 69,843 * 0 141,664
2016 99,241 6,622 863 92,364 * 0 199,090

 

* Swim through operation
** Due to fish counter malfunction there was up to two weeks where passing fish  were not enumerated
+ Fishway unable to pass fish until modifications in 1997
++ Fish netted below and hand passed over Winnicut River dam
+++ Minimum estimate based on time counts, fishway/dam removed in fall 2009