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Massachusetts: Fishery Group Limits Herring Catch

New York Times

National Briefing | New England
Massachusetts: Fishery Group Limits Herring Catch
By JESS BIDGOOD
Published: September 26, 2013

The New England Fishery Management Council on Thursday approved the region's first cap on the amount of river herring that can be caught by industrial trawlers. According to the rules, which must be approved and put into place by the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Atlantic herring fleet can incidentally catch no more than 311.4 metric tons of river herring and shad. The cap, which is the median of what managers estimate it caught over the past five years, will be implemented by zone and gear type. River herring and shad, whose populations are at historic lows, spend part of their lives at sea and run up rivers to spawn; hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on dam removal projects to foster a revival of the runs, but fishermen and conservationists have long warned the species also need protection at sea.

The council also discussed the National Marine Fisheries Service's decision this summer not to implement all of the measures the council approved last year to protect Atlantic herring, citing funding issues; the group tabled a motion to prohibit midwater trawling in the region until those rules are put into place.

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