Herring are managed under the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP) by the New England Fishery Management Council. The herring FMP splits herring fishing grounds into four main areas and sets “soft” quotas for each area, as well as a target yield for the entire stock.
In January of 2006, the New England Fishery Management Council voted on Alternative 7 to Amendment 1 to the Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP). The Council voted overwhelmingly (13-2) in favor of this alternative. The vote clearly demonstrated the Council’s intent to implement an inshore buffer zone and place the midwater trawl fleet under strict, enforceable bycatch caps.
Herring Amendment 1 was developed by the New England Council over a number of years and after numerous meetings and mulitple public comment periods. Those affected by the herring midwater trawl fishery off New England came out in force and had a real say in the outcome.
The amendment was then given to NMFS who would have the final say in what the rule would look like. After months of going through the Council’s version, NMFS published a Proposed Rule(PR), which included all but one of the measures within the Council’s final version. After another public comment period in which the public truley made it’s voice heard, the NMFS published the Final Rule (FR) in early March of 2007; as with the PR, the FR included, among other things, an inshore buffer zone in the Gulf of Maine.
This tremendous victory has reinvigorated countless fishermen and others who eagerly await a summer free of midwater and pair trawling in the Gulf of Maine.
(You can read more about this in the “Media” section)
The New England Fishery Management Council website chronicles actions taken to manage the Atlantic Herring Fishery. Visit their site to access the Atlantic Herring FMP, public hearing documents, stock reports, and other supporting documents.
The most recent document of importance on the Council site is the 2007-2009 Herring Specs which is the most up-to-date discussion on the herring fishery. The Specs have not yet been fully approved by the NMFS.
The Council is currently working on a new amendment known as Amendment 5, begun in 2008, that is focused on developing a monitoring system for the herring fishery. This new amendment, the first major action since Amendment 1, is currently underway and many are hopeful that it will fix the problems in the current monitoring system. Information on this new amendment can also be found at the NEFMC website.
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Last updated: September 12, 2010