I counted two alewives at the counting board today at 1:00 – 1:10. Hopefully they are the first of many.
I also stopped by the bridge at Apple Street in Essex around noon today and there were about 3 dozen in the brook at that time and I’ve received reports that many were counted yesterday in Essex.
Gloucester Shellfish Constable/Alewife Warden
In case you don’t know, as I didn’t, the alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus) is a species of fish. There are anadromous and landlocked forms. The landlocked form is also called a sawbelly or mooneye (although this latter name is more commonly applied to Hiodon spp.). The front of the body is deep and larger than other fish found in the same waters, and its common name is said to come from comparison with a corpulent female tavernkeeper (“ale-wife”). In Atlantic Canada it is known as the gaspereau. More locally, in southwestern Nova Scotia, it is called a kiack (or kyack). In the Southeast US, when sold and used as bait, the fish is often referred to as “LY”.
Adult alewives are preferred bait for the spring lobster fishery in Maine. It is also used for human consumption, usually smoked. It is caught (during its spawning migration upstream) using large dip nets to scoop the fish out of shallow, constricted areas on its migratory streams and rivers. It is one of the “typical” North American shads of the subgenus Pomolobus.