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Show your support for increased observer coverage in the herring midwater trawl fleet!
February 22, 2007
ASK CONGRESS FOR INCREASED MIDWATER TRAWL OBSERVER COVERAGE
Below is a sample letter that you can send to your Senators and Representatives.
You can find the contact info for your Congresspeople by opening the following link and entering your zip code. On their websites, find the ‘web form’ option and you will be able to simply copy and paste the text below into the form. (This is the method Congress uses instead of direct email.)
Make sure that you enter in the congressperson’s name and position and to add your name in the place provided at the bottom of the sample letter.
Dear Representative (Last name),
I am writing today to voice my support for increased observer coverage in the herring midwater trawl fishery in New England.
These vessels employ the largest nets, with the smallest mesh, ever used by the domestic fleet in New England. Current regulations allow these vessels to operate in Groundfish closed areas and within three miles of shore. More than 95% of the time they operate without any NMFS observers aboard.
For many years now the public has voiced its concern over the bycatch associated with the midwater trawl fishery for herring. Based on the limited information available (as well as anecdotal accounts), this bycatch includes bluefin tuna, haddock, cod, striped bass, mackerel, seals, marine mammals and a host of other species. It also includes substantial amounts of discarded herring.
Currently, funding for observer coverage has been cut to a level that is far below where it is needed to ensure good information for management. In Canada and on the West Coast, vessels like these would have 100% observer coverage. It is important for the entire region that the herring fishery is managed properly and increasing observer coverage is an crucial step in the right direction.
I encourage you to support a $1.5 million line item in the FY 2008 budget to provide NMFS the resources to properly observe the midwater herring fleet so they can properly enforce their own regulations and provide an accurate description of the quantity and disposition of bycatch in the Atlantic herring fishery.
(YOUR NAME, Town/Homeport, State)