View Full Version : Cape Cod Times, herring poaching article

05-31-2003, 08:27 PM
Anyone who uses herring, live, fresh, dead or otherwise should read this very eye opening article. It's in todays Cape Cod Times, or at capecodtimes.com
We once were blessed with seemingly endless schools of herring each spring. However, that is no longer the case.
Plus, what has happened in Mashpee and Brewster, happened in Bournedale ten years ago. Only when the Bournedale run was depleted, did the problem move on to other towns.

06-01-2003, 08:01 AM
{**Warning - Rant starting**} This article just confirms what anyone who fishes herring already knows or should know. What really made me sick were quotes from tackle shop owners that implied that they readily bought live herring that they suspected were poached, and that it was someone else's problem.

Well hey, it's our problem and I for one do not plan to business with any business that deals in poached herring. We need to regulate against behavior that promotes stockpiling of fish - in live cars, in tanks in backyards, in oversized tanks in the backs of trucks. What we really need here is a statewide possession limit of around 24 herring. Anyone who can't reach their bag limit with a couple of dozen herring is functionally inept as a fisher. Anyone who feels the need to stockpile 100s of herring for later in the season is simply greedy.

{Rant over}

David Churbuck
06-01-2003, 08:31 AM
{rant continued}
I was also steamed by the quote from the bozo from Yarmouth "who retired to the Cape for the fishing" who said:

"They might be poachers and they might not," said XXX XXXX, 63, of Yarmouth, who said he retired to the Cape for the fishing. "But they're the ones who've got the herring. If you can't get it any other way, you just buy it where you can. I wouldn't do anything illegal myself, but I'm buying if they're selling."

Ever hear of receiving stolen goods?

People who poach herring are lower than whale #$%. The towns and state should make some massive bust, prosecute to the fullest, and make an example of these knuckleheads.

Why did this problem suddenly materialize in the last five years? Has livelining suddenly taken off in popularity?

The CCT story (http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/officialsfight31.htm)

06-01-2003, 10:11 AM

This problem has been out there for some time now. However, I think you'll find that the reason it suddenly was brought to light is b/c many runs have little or no herring to spaek of this season. As long as there were plenty of herring, everyone kept quiet.

Some history is in order now.
When the bass fishery rebounded big time in the canal, some 13-14 years ago, a couple local "entreprenuers" came up with a bright idea.
One guy was a local high school teacher, and the other was an out of town tackle shop owner. They opened up a guide service with catered to newcommers wanting to fish the canal.
As I'm sure you're well aware, the canal can be a tough, almost brutal place to start out if you've never fished it before. Well, these guys took all the guesswork out of it. They supplied the right tackle, took you to the right places, on the right tide, and of course supplied you with the RIGHT bait. Which of course was live herring.
So much did their business thrive for several years, one of the operaters used to brag, "he needed 1500 live herring per week for his sports alone!"
At the time, most of those herring were coming from the Bournedale, and Mashpee runs. In Bournedale, the 2 "guides" used to run a gillnet across the upper reaches of the Bournedale run, and literally clean it out on a daily/nightly basis Not to mention kill every small bass, pickeral, and perch in it's path.
Now, if matters weren't bad enough, along come the Upper Cape Regional Chamber of Commerce Annual striped bass derby. It's no coincidence that this derby hits right at the peak of herring season. 1000 entries in the derby = 1000 guys looking for live herring.
Now, you throw into the mix all the other average Joe's out there looking for a few live herring to catch a bass, and you can see it becomes a recipe for a disaster!
PLUS, as the herring began to dry up, the local "entreprenuer" guide had to expand, and improve their herring catching methods. They actually used to pay their unemployed buddies to sit at places like Carter Beal and net herring all day! Yup, they'd return at days end and pay their buddies for each individual herring. Plus, they have all the other herring they'd taken in places such as Watertown and Pembroke.
We actually have(had) another run here in town in Pocasset called Red Brook, that is essentially wiped out! As in GONE! NO MORE HERRING! 15 years ago, this was one nice little run.
Connecticut has a NO HERRING for bait law which is strictly enforced. Herring can no longer be used for bass bait live, fresh or frozen.
I sure see this in our future... -- --

David Churbuck
06-01-2003, 11:09 AM

You paint a grim picture.

Any insight as to how the Connecticut ban was proposed and passed? It's a shame that it has to come to such lengths, but if it means the difference between restoring one of the most valuable bait-fish stocks at a time when other baitfish stocks such as menhaden are being slammed, then I'm for it.

The memory of being taken to the local herring run during April school vacation by my grandfather in the 1960s and taught to dip net a dozen so my grandmother could fry up the roe. versus the dark image of a truck backing up to a run under the cover of darkness to net up a few hundred to sell at from $1 to $5 to a hungry mob bent on winning on a derby or bringing home a "keepah" ....

Can't net that dozen or so anymore at Marston's Mills. That run is posted and closed. Can't even take the kids to the Mashpee Run anymore, the place seems to have been taken over by a dozen obsessed and menacing jerks straddling the sluice-way and acting like Captain Quint while they fill up their live wells.

It ain't 1965 anymore on Cape Cod, that's for sadly sure.

06-01-2003, 12:10 PM
Here is a qote from the CC paper....I think with as many people read this forum we can let them know its not ok. Poaching will effect us all!

"The way things are you can't get herring anywhere," said Glen Noftle, manager at Roy's II in Bourne. "So if someone wanted to sell them without a permit, I wouldn't really care. We might check - but if not, then they're breaking the law, not us. We're not responsible."

If this guy plays dumb and says its not his problem, someone might want to slap him back into reality. If he is doing this knowingly then he is as bad as the poachers. I can tell you now I will never step foot in his store for any reason, I think you all should do the same!


Bob Parsons
06-01-2003, 01:52 PM
I stop in at Cape Cod Charlies infrequenly but was thinking of making a special stop to tell Kenny how great his comment was. And will make one last stop to some of the other quoted establishments just to let them know that they have lost a customer.

06-01-2003, 06:04 PM
Ok, i wasn't going to mention it by name, but since it already came up.
Roy's was the "other" guide service who was operating on the canal during that period. I believe he was based out of Franklin at the time...
So, you guys can now see why they don't care where the herring come from. They didn't care then, and they certainly don't care now.