Downeast Fisheries Trail website
Maine Sea Grant College Program
The term “river herring” collectively refers to two species: Alosa pseudoharengus, commonly known as alewife, and the closely related Alosa aestivalis, commonly known as blueback herring, or simply bluebacks. Fishermen in Maine often use the word “alewife” to refer to both alewives and bluebacks.
Each spring streams, rivers, and ponds in Downeast Maine fill with adult alewives, ready to spawn. This seasonal influx represented a major link between freshwater and marine ecosystems, and historically provided an important food source for Wabanaki peoples and European settlers.
Beaty, Juila, "Fisheries Then: Alewives and Blueback Herring" (2014). Maine Sea Grant Publications. 71.
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