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EDUCATION

Get students out of the classroom and up close to science they can touch

Tracking Changes in
River Herring Populations

The Plymouth Department of Marine and Environmental Affairs in Massachusetts established the herring run project in 2008 in association with The University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries. To learn more about their project and learn more about the creators and partners of the herring run project, visit their website.


The partners in this project include: the Mystic River Watershed Association, the Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, US Fish and Wildlife Service, MA Department of Fish and Game Division of Ecological Restoration, US Geological Survey, American Rivers, Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, Woods Hole Sea Grant, World Fish Migration Day, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, and Milone & Macbroom.


River Herring are in the 1% of all fish species which are anadromous- meaning that they migrate between freshwater and marine habitats. They live most of their lives in the ocean, but return to freshwater rivers and lakes to lay their eggs. Unfortunately, the river herring population is being threatened by overfishing, poor water quality, and dams obstructing their migrations. To track migratory river herring on what’s known as the “herring run,” there is an underwater camera located on the fish ladder at the Jenny Grist Mill dam. The videos from these cameras are analyzed in order to correctly track the number of herring migrating - this is where your help comes in!


Visit this link to watch these video clips and input the number of herring you see. There are further instructions on the site.