Concerned about a precipitous decline in herring, the state has banned their harvest in Massachusetts for the next three years.

Also known as alewives, herring is the most valued bait fish in Vineyard waters.

The closure, which affects at least 100 herring runs along the Massachusetts coast, ironically comes at a time when Vineyard towns are taking steps to revive and improve their runs.


For generations, the arrival of the herring at coastal ponds has
been the Island's harbinger of spring. Now, major initiatives are
under way across the Island to enhance waterways for the returning

This week, work began and is almost complete on the construction of
a fish ladder at the head of Lake Tashmoo.


The work of dredging now going on at Tashmoo Creek focuses attention upon one of the historical landmarks of the Island and one of which very little is remembered or preserved. Indians called this locality Chappaquansett, and old records refer to the creek as Chappaquansett Creek, rather than Tashmoo. It is evident that the Indians frequented this place in the olden days, as sizable middens have been located nearby and others are presumably buried beneath the shifting sands or have been washed out to sea.


The approach of spring is heralded on the Vineyard, as well as at many other points on the coast, by the running of fish. Fish are to be had at any month in the year if one knows how and where to get them, but no movement of a school or body takes place during the winter in the waters near the shore or the land-locked lakes and ponds.