What is that?


If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone (631) 749-1000, extension 354.

Old Reliable Tom Speeches and young William Marshal were the early birds, calling in with the correct answer on last week’s photo (below) of the sign at the end of Menhaden Lane in Hay Beach.

And on our Facebook page, Richard Loper identified the location.

Bunker, according to our fishing columnist Larry Winston, is a small silvery blue herring called Atlantic menhaden that run “in schools ranging in size from a bathtub to several acres. They are number one on the hit parade for all game fish anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard. The predatory fish swim through schools of bunker with mouths open to see how many they can eat in one pass.

“Bunkers travel in large, tightly-packed schools, using lots of oxygen from the water while at the same time excreting nitrogen from their food intake. Because of this, they’re vulnerable to suffocating if they get into a slow-running, low-oxygen estuary situation like they did in the Riverhead area in the spring of 2015, when thousands of the larger bunker died and fouled the waters for weeks.”

And senior columnist Richard Lomuscio added some history: “The big industry here in the 19th century was bunker fishing … for their commercial value for fertilizer, pet food, nail polish and paint, among other items.

“They were netted by the bunker boats and brought to shore where they were boiled down in ‘bunker pots’ that dotted the beaches all over the Island.

“And did they stink. The summer air was filled with the stench of boiling bunker. Not a pleasant scent for visitors looking to escape the foul air of the city. So the town fathers made the decision to stress the resort nature and stop the bunker industry. The Island’s future was cemented.”