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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ladies and Gentleman, the herring fishery in VA is in serious trouble. This is a fish that has survived Kepone, floods, and many fuel spills. Believe me, the fishery is in serious trouble.

I have lived all my life in a “herring rich” environment.

I went “dipping” for herring yesterday on a creek known as “Herring Creek” in Charles City County.

All “locals” know why the creek is named such.

Anyway, I got 20 buck herring in about 2 hours. A person above me (above me means up the creek from the James River) was slaying the herring. He would dip 5 to 10 herring with each dip.

I would dip a few only when his net was out of the water. NO PROBLEM!

I told him that I only wanted “roe” (female) herrings. He suggested that I go through the five buckets of herrings he harvested and pick out the roe herrings. I did so and gave him all the buck (male) herrings I harvested.

Out of 5 buckets, I obtained 20 roe herrings. In years past, roe herrings out numbered buck herrings easily 5-1 this time of year.

He told me, the day before he harvested 80 herrings. One was a roe herring.

When I got home, I extracted the roe. I felt sick to my stomach.

When I washed the roe, several slipped from my fingers and went down the drain. That’s right, they went down the drain.

I used 10, YES TEN sets of herring roe this morning to mix with one egg for a herring roe/egg sandwich.

I should have known three years ago that the herring were in trouble when they were selling for a little less than 5 dollars a pound. It took 5 herrings to make a pound.

Friends, when herring are threatened, our whole salt/fresh water ecosystem is in danger!
 

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Shame on you for keeping the few roes that are around.:D It is bound to happen. Everyone who fishes for them, keeps them every year by the bucket fulls. Salted, pickled, fertilizer, cat food, buckets for people they know....etc. Look at Walkers Dam, a herring doesn't stand a chance.

Dayton
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I cannot buy into that Darren. At least in my neck of the woods, the fishing pressure is less now than it was 40 years ago.

What you see at the "Dam" has gone on every since the dam has been there.

20 years ago, haul seiner's would off load thousands of pounds via conveyor belt at the dam and ship them north.

The same would take place on the James.

The above has not taken place in 5 plus years.

I think predation is a problem.
 

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Cutbait


A couple of comments.....


1. You are right about the herring being in deep trouble. I grew up in NC and when I was a kid we would dip them sometimes a hundred at the time and this year there is a total moritorum on herring in the ASMA (Albermarle Sound Management Area) .
But I guess the question is how did they get to this state. I am sure that pollution, overfishing and the comeback of the stripers combined are all contributing factors.
First overfishing....them pound netters and gill netters where catching the fish as they were coming up the rivers and creeks before they spawned. So not only were they catching this years fish but since they were after the roe they were also catching the future years fish. Where as the dip netters only catch the fish as they are leaving ( post spawn) the creeks and rivers since there count on the current to bow the net. Because of this I am happy to see them ban pound nets in ASMA this year.

2. I heard a sound on the Chowan River this past weekend that I have not heard in several years. The river came alive after dark with the splashing of schools of herring
making there way up the river to spawn. I laid awake for several hours just listening to them sounds and it was music to my ears. I too do not like the fact that I can not catch even one herring this year but I will sacifice if that is what is required to save that fishery.

Earl
 

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I am thinking that because the menhaden are being raped from the bay, the striper are eating whatever they can get - small crabs and herring???
Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Earl, most roe herrings are caught here pre spawn. They are traveling up the streams and that's where they are mostly harvested. IE: Chickahominy river at the dam.

In Herring creek, herrings were being caught moving up and down the creek. The few roe that we had were actually swimming down stream away from the previous spawning areas. That puzzled me as well. Cold snap maybe?????

I am glad that you were bale to hear the"sound."

Mark, you may be on to something.

Tom Powers, any info at VMRC on this matter?
 
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