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Hip Deep in Herring

September 11, 2007

Portland Press Herald
September 11, 2007

By Tom Bell

Maine’s coastal waters are teeming with schools of herring and the silvery fish’s predators this summer, according to reports from people who work the waters.

“There has been lots of sea life, and it kind of amazes me,” said Daniel Fill, captain of a Rockland-based fishing boat, during a cell phone interview from his boat. “I have seen fish where I haven’t seen them for years. They’re in nice, big bunches for miles.”

Fill’s observations are echoed by other purse seine herring fishermen, as well as whale-watching companies and tuna fishermen. They also report seeing more sea birds, dolphins, seals and tuna—which all feed on herring.

This bounty of sea life, they claim, is the result of the new summerlong ban on midwater herring trawlers in Gulf of Maine coastal waters. And it’s clear evidence, they say, that the trawler ban they have long sought to establish is working.

“I think the ban has made a big difference,” said Zack Klyver, a naturalist who works for Bar Harbor Whale Watching and advocated for the ban.

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