After years of wondering and worrying about river herring being caught as bycatch in the Atlantic herring fishery, we finally have the opportunity to DO something about it. Due in large part to the efforts of watershed associations, recreational fishermen, herring wardens, environmental organizations, and river herring enthusiasts, the New England Marine Fisheries Management Council has put river herring on the agenda.
The Council is responsible for writing Fishery Management Plans for all fisheries within the federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which are the waters from 3 to 200 miles from shore. The original plan for the Atlantic Herring Fishery was written in 1999, and the Council is now working on Amendment 5 to the Plan. Amendment 5 contains several different management options for collecting data on the quantity of river herring are caught in federal waters, and for minimizing that catch. The Council plans to vote on the final measures in June of 2012.
The Council is looking for comments on which options to choose, and that is where you can help.
The public hearing document that explains the proposed management measures can be found here.
The hearings in Massachusetts are being held on the following dates
- Gloucester, Wednesday, March 14
- Fairhaven, Monday, March 19
- Plymouth, Tuesday, March 27
The full list of hearings with locations, dates and times can be found here.
Mr. Paul Howard
New England Fishery Management Council
50 Water Street
Newburyport, MA 01950
Stay tuned to the River Herring Network blog and the Forum for discussion on what management measures will be most likely to protect river herring.
-Abby Franklin, March 13. 2012