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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-17-2003 06:24 AM
timwatts Here are some old laws that were passed in an effort to save the Merrimacks once bountiful fish runs. It's probally difficult for us to comprehend how alive our New England rivers once were. They were destroyed so long ago.

It's interesting that many of the first big New England dams met little resistance. By the time they were proposed and built most of the fish runs had been greatly diminished by early commercial fishing and daming of smaller tributary streams.


Merrimack River




1734 -- "An Act to Prevent Nusances by Hedges, Wears and Other Incumbrances Obstructing the Passage of Fish in Merrimack River."

Excerpt:

"Whereas the River Merrimack hath heretofore abounded with plenty of fish, which hath been of great advantage to the inhabitants of the several towns near the said river; and notwithstanding the care which hath been taken in making laws to prevent the setting up of wares, and stopping the course of the fish, yet those laws have proved ineffectual to deter persons from setting up wares across the said river for divers years last past, which have been the occasion of destroying abundance of fish, to the great hurt and damage of the inhabitants living on and near the said river, and the fish (especially bass and sturgeon, which are very valuable) by having their natural course stopped, and being destroyed by the wares, have in great measure forsaken the river ... "

Passed July 4, 1734


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1737 -- "An Act to Prevent Nusances by Hedges, Wears and Other Incumbrances Obstructing the Passage of Fish in Merrimack River."

Excerpt:

"That if any person or persons whomsoever, from and after the publication of this act, shall presume to erect, set up, or make on or across the said River Merrimack, or that shall be aiding or assisting therein, any wares, hedges, fish-garths, stakes, kiddles or other incumbrance whatsoever, to the stopping, obstructing or straightning the natural and usual course and passage of the fish up and down the same river, that shall exceed, be made or carried into the said river from more than one third part of the breadth of the river at such place, from either side thereof, or that shall use and improve any such wares, hedges, fish-garths, stakes, kiddles or other incumbrances as aforesaid for the taking of fish so obstructed, shall, for the first offence, forfeit and pay the sum of fifty pounds, and for every other offence, the sum of one hundred pounds ..."


Passed June 28, 1737


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1773 -- "An Act to Prevent the Destruction of Salmon and Other Fish in Merrimack River, Within this Province."

Excerpt:

"Whereas the salmon and other fish taken in Merrimack River, within this province, have been of great service to the inhabitants, and still will be so if due care is taken to prevent the unnecessary destruction thereof; and whereas, some persons have, of late, enlarged their seines to such an extraordinary length as have greatly obstructed the passage of said fish, by using such seines so as to extend quite across said river, which if not prevented will tend to destroy the valuable the fishery in said river --

Passed, March 6, 1773.


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1774 -- "An Act in Addition to, and for Rendering More Effectual, An Act Passed in the Seventh Year of his Present Majesty's Reign, Intitled, 'An Act in Addition to Several Acts to Prevent the Destruction of Salmon and Other Fish in Merrimack River, within this Province."


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1783 -- "An Act to Regulate the Catching of Salmon, Shad and Alewives, and to Remove and Prevent Obstructions in Merrimack River, and in the Other Rivers and Streams Running into the Same, within this Commonwealth, and for Repealing Several Acts Heretofore Made for that Purpose."

Excerpt:

"Whereas the salmon, shad and alewives, taken in Merrimack River and streams running into the same, have been of great service to the inhabitants of this Commonwealth; and as the fish in the said rivers and streams may hereafter be of great service to the people of this Commonwealth, as well as to those of New Hampshire, if proper care is taken to prevent the unnecessary destruction thereof; and whereas by constant fishing with seines, nets and pots, and erecting weirs and other incumbrances, to prevent the passage and facilitate the taking of the said fish, they are greatly diminished, and there is great danger of their being totally destroyed."

Passed October 24, 1783
04-15-2003 11:24 PM
DEERHAAWK
UN-DAM IT!

Good evening,
It is a sad state of afairs when men look at a body of water and let $$$$$ cloud the overall view of that natural system. I know these rivers well, I am sorry to see the almost complete non-existance of Atlantic Salmon.
Deerhawk
04-14-2003 09:52 AM
juro
Damn those dams...

If there is ever any doubt as to the impact of dams on anadramous species, take a look at these statistics on the Merrimac River, once one of the most robust factories of anadramous fishes on the eastern seaboard like it's sister river the Connecticut also suffering the same fate...

http://www.fws.gov/r5cneafp/returns.htm

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