Herring Alliance Blog

Insights from Herring Alliance members, outside experts and fishermen



Another Chance for Herring

On April 22 in Mystic, Connecticut, the New England Fishery Management Council has another chance to implement the necessary reforms to the Atlantic herring fishery advocated by a variety of stakeholders for many years, and supported by tens of thousands of public comments from people like you. If you've been following our work, you know that two years ago, both the New England and the Mid-Atlantic Councils approved measures to increase observer coverage, discourage the wasteful practice of dumping catch before it is brought aboard, and accurately weigh all catch. NOAA Fisheries rejected these provisions, and for the last nine months, the Councils have been working to revise and resubmit an approvable set of reforms for the herring and mackerel fisheries.

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Help Little Fish Make Their Big Trip

Somewhere out there along our coast, just beyond where rivers hit salt water, thousands of small fish are gathering and making ready for an epic voyage inland. The annual runs of river herring and shad are just weeks away.

Hundreds of people are getting ready, too. They’re the volunteers who will gather at bridges, fish ladders, dams, and riverbanks to count the passing fish—an important exercise in citizen science that builds the databases needed to help conserve these imperiled fish.

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Stop the “Empty Oceans” Act

The nation’s top law governing ocean fisheries, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, is due for reauthorization in Congress. This law has dramatically reduced overfishing and successfully rebuilt 34 depleted fish populations since 2000, including haddock, black sea bass, Acadian redfish, scup, and silver hake.

The chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings, recently unveiled his plan to rewrite this landmark law and the early reviews from the conservation community are not good.

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Good Move for New England's Protected Waters

NOAA reverses course; keeps most closed areas safe

Fisheries officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have scrapped most of an ill-considered proposal that would have allowed bottom-trawl fishing in vast sections of protected waters off New England. The decision, announced Dec. 13, keeps intact some 3,000 square miles of the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank that have long protected fish and the habitat they depend on.   

“NOAA’s decision is a marked improvement over the original proposal,” said Peter Baker, northeast oceans director for The Pew Charitable Trusts. “Nevertheless, even a modest reduction in habitat protection is a move in the wrong direction.”

“With many New England species struggling to recover from overfishing, we need more habitat protection, not less,” Baker added.

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Fish First, Ask Questions Later?

What might happen to our ocean food web if people start scooping up more kinds of the little "forage fish" that help feed the rest of the sea?

That's on charter captain and fishery manager John McMurray's mind in his latest blog post at Reel-Time. Specifically, McMurray's concerned with the slim, bottom-dwelling bait fish known as "sand lance" or "sand eels."

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