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Every spring, the Nemasket River welcomes thousands of migratory river herring that thrash and struggle as they fight their way upstream from Mount Hope Bay. Of all non-domesticated animals, the river herring has arguably had the greatest impact on the towns along the river in southeastern Massachusetts. The area was called "Nemasket", or "place of fish," by Native Americans, and its earliest English colonists were dependent on river herring for their very survival. They provided a livelihood for generations of families in Middleborough and Lakeville, shaping the culture and the course of the region's development. Today herring fishing is banned and the community is working towards protecting and preserving the river so the herring have a place to return each spring. Join historian Michael J. Maddigan as he explores the big story of the small fish that shaped life along the Nemasket River.

Nemasket River Herring: A History

SKU: 978-1-62619-662-9
  • Author: Michael J. Maddigan

    Publisher: Natural History Press, 2014

    Paperback, 192 pages, maps, illustrations (b/w), 6 x 9 inches

  • The author of the 2014 book, Nemasket River Herring, Middleborough Historical Commission member Michael Maddigan probably knows more about the history of the herring runs in town than anyone still living. His online blog, Recollecting Nemasket, provides a wealth of information about the fishery through the years. - Robert Barboza, southcoasttoday


    Nemasket River Herring: A History ... authored by Michael J. Maddigan of Middleboro, earns its distinction as the most current — and likely most comprehensive — dissertation ever published on river herrings (also called alewives) in the Nemasket River and other local waterways. - Christopher G. Shott, New Bedford Standard-Times



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