Atlantic herring is a key piece of the ocean food web. (Photo: NEFSC, NOAA)
East Coast herring fishery management changes proposed
Thursday, December 07, 2017, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
Federal fishing regulators are considering changing the way the East Coast herring fisheries management to better account for its impact on the environment and other industries.
The regulatory New England Fishery Management Council has released a group of alternatives focusing on reversing a potential 'localized depletion,' Portland Press Herald reported.
In this regard, some environmentalists, members of other fisheries and ecotourism businesses claim that intense concentrations of herring boats can negatively impact the marine environment by reducing availability of other species.
The proposed changes could alter when and where fishermen are allowed to pursue herring and what kind of gear they can use and include 10 different options.
Atlantic herring are a key piece of the ocean food web, and their availability is important to everyone from whale watch boat captains to tuna fishermen.
The council voted to send the proposal out for public comment and said public hearings will be held in early 2018 and a final decision will be made later in the year.
Official statistics reveal that fishermen caught nearly 140 million pounds of herring last year, most of which came to land in Maine and Massachusetts, but New Jersey, Rhode Island and Florida were major producers as well.
The 2016 haul was the smallest since 2002. The catch was worth more than USD 28.8 million at the dock, which was one of the highest totals on record. Herring is especially valuable as bait for lobsters.
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member NOAA Fisheries Enforcement