Stronger Management Of Atlantic Herring Fishery Advances
Pew Supports Observer Option to Reduce Industrial Fishing’s Environmental Damage
DANVERS, Mass., Sept. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Peter Baker, director of the Pew Environment Group’s Northeast Fisheries Program and the Herring Alliance, issued the following statement today in response to the New England Fishery Management Council’s decision to seek public input on a long-awaited set of proposed regulations that would be included under Amendment 5 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan.
“Today’s vote invites the public to help guide how we improve the inadequate management of industrial fishing for Atlantic herring. In targeting this species off New England’s coast, midwater trawlers often ensnare other fish, marine mammals and seabirds in nets hundreds of feet long, damaging this complex ocean ecosystem.
“We support the proposal that would require a federal observer on every midwater trawler trip to sample the entire catch. Onboard observers would finally allow fishery managers to verify what vessels are hauling in and would put the Atlantic herring fishery on par with others in the industry that use similar-size ships and gear. The release or dumping of unsampled catch by this fleet should not be allowed except under unusual circumstances, such as mechanical failure or when safety is a concern, and use of these exceptions should be carefully controlled.
“We agree with the Council’s inclusion of an option that would prohibit directed fishing for Atlantic herring in areas where river herring-a related and severely depleted species-are caught in large numbers. Midwater trawlers should also be excluded from ocean areas with designations that protect rebuilding groundfish populations, because the massive nets scoop up almost everything in their paths.
“People in this region care about and depend upon their stretch of the Atlantic Ocean, one of the richest marine environments in the United States. All herring species play a critical role as a food source in this ecosystem. Our fisheries management should operate on scientific observations and keep enough fish in the water for generations to come.”
The Herring Alliance<http://www.herringalliance.org/> is a coalition of environmental organizations that includes more than 40 groups dedicated to restoring ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems from North Carolina to Maine by reforming the management of important fish species such as Atlantic (or sea) herring.
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a nongovernmental organization that works globally to establish pragmatic, science-based policies that protect our oceans, preserve our wildlands and promote clean energy.
Contact: Dan Klotz, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Pew Environment Group