Herring are back and the numbers are stronger compared with a year ago. Also known as alewives, herring are one of the true coastal signs of spring and considered essential bait fish in the food chain.
While the reports of numbers this spring are improved over last year, they are at best cautiously optimistic. A state moratorium prohibiting the catching of herring has been in place since 2005. The ban was a response to a dramatic drop in the numbers of fish returning in the spring of 2004 and before. Recovery has been slow, if at all, until this spring.