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Herring Boats Fined, Haddock Hard to Avoid
November 18, 2004
ELLSWORTH The coastal herring fishery will close tomorrow for the remainder of 2004. Having reached 53,840 metric tons of the 60,000-ton Area 1A total on Nov. 6, regulators decided Monday to close the area to all but incidental herring catches starting Nov. 19, the same date it closed in 2003.
Area 1A runs up the coast from Cape Cod to New Brunswick, and encompasses some of the most productive and easily accessible herring grounds in New England waters.
The closure isn’t a surprise. It comes nearly every fall at this time. But this year, it comes at a time when the herring industry has been beset by accusations of excessive groundfish bycatch. In three cases, those accusations led to formal notices of violation and fines levied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The violations, all issued Oct. 12, cited each vessel for possessing illegally caught haddock. While the federal enforcement agents would not disclose the amount of fish involved in each case, they did note that the three vessels were boarded in port, where they attempted to sell the illegally caught haddock that was mixed with their legal herring.