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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

NE CASC and Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah Participate in the American Fisheries Society Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The Hutton Junior Fisheries Biology Program is a summer internship and mentoring program for high school students sponsored by the American Fisheries Society (AFS). This past summer, NE CASC and the Natural Resources Department at the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah co-hosted Hutton Fellow Noah Manning for a joint opportunity in field and lab studies in the Menemsha Pond Complex. The broader collaboration between NE CASC and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah (WTGHA) is seeking to determine whether suitable habitat is available to support river herring, American eel, and other Tribal Trust fisheries resources in the system after aquatic connectivity was restored between Menemsha and Squibnocket Ponds in 2019. This summer, Noah was joined by Five College Coastal and Marine Science Program summer intern Eva Mir and NE CASC fellow Asha Ajmani.

The field team tracked fish movement patterns using pit tags (a technology similar to EZ pass trackers) and video monitoring, assessed biodiversity distribution and abundance using nets and molecular approaches, and provided general assistance to the WTGHA Natural Resources Department’s field and laboratory activities, including water quality monitoring and maintenance of shellfish aquaculture activities. A highlight of the Hutton summer internship was that Noah traveled to Montana for a summit to meet with other program fellows in addition to touring and learning about fisheries facilities and programs across the nation. Noah reflected on the experience, commenting that the Hutton fellowship “provided me with more inspiration to explore a career in the environmental sciences”.

NE CASC looks forward to continue addressing climate adaptation goals for fisheries resources with the WTGHA and partners with shared interests in river herring and other diadromous fishes throughout the Northeast region.