Herring Alliance Blog

Insights from Herring Alliance members, outside experts and fishermen

Court Order Requires Protection for River Herring and Shad

Herring Alliance partner Earthjustice successfully litigated and won new protections for river herring and shad! In a recent court order, a federal judge ordered the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council to develop a comprehensive analysis for how to conserve these species, which must be completed by October 2016. The New England Fishery Management Council has stated that they plan to revisit the issue of adding river herring and shad into the herring management plan in several years. The positive outcome of the lawsuit will hopefully push the New England Council to protect river herring and shad by developing a similar set of robust analyses on these species.

More details can be found in the the Earthjustice blog post on the court's decision, which is reposted below.


Council Makes a Wrong Move for River Herring

The New England Fishery Management Council has again shown that they are unwilling to protect river herring and shad at sea. Last week at their meeting in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the Council voted to increase the amount of river herring and shad that can be caught by the herring fleet, even though the current caps have not even been in place for one year, and no science was presented suggesting that these populations have recovered. This is the wrong move. It is a slap in the face to all the people who work tirelessly to improve habitat and water quality in the hope that these fish will return to New England’s rivers and streams, and to the recreational fishermen who have respected state bans on catch for over a decade.


Southern New England’s Worst Year in History for River Herring Raises Concerns at Sea

Fisheries officials and watershed conservation groups have tallied the spring migratory runs of river herring, and in parts of southern New England, 2015 likely will go down as a particularly terrible year for these critically important forage fish. Reports from across Connecticut and Rhode Island show the number of migrating fish declining dramatically compared with recent years, leading one prominent biologist to call this year “the worst in history” in his state.


June Council meetings bring good news for forage fish

Over the past few weeks, both the New England and the Mid Atlantic Council have moved forward with improvements for managing forage fish. In addition, this past May the Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commission committed to develop ecosystem-based management for menhaden. First, we want to say “Thank you!” to all our supporters and coalition members who wrote letters, attended meetings and talked to decision makers about these issues. Your input makes a difference! Here is a brief summary of what happened.


Recent fish kills in Long Island Sound: what is happening with menhaden?

There have been numerous reports over the last few weeks in which large numbers of menhaden have been dying around Long Island Sound, in the coastal waters of New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Maybe you’ve even seen – or smelled – such a fish kill on a beach near you. Recent reports have noted many thousands of dead menhaden on shore.

Large die-offs often occur when schools of menhaden, fleeing voracious predators like bluefish or striped bass, escape into nearshore waters where they can suffocate from insufficient levels of oxygen in the water. Such events are usually limited to small areas, like estuaries and river mouths, and occur in late summer when oxygen levels are lowest. But it’s only June, so why the massive and widespread early deaths? There are a few opinions out there.