The New England Fishery Management Council met in the Viking Hotel in historic Newport Rhode Island in mid December. As always; Team Fissues was in attendance and the following are the highlights we feel our readers need to know: Atlantic Herring: The big news coming out of the December NEFMC meeting was the vote to
Atlantic Herring (aka Sea Herring) are a pelagic species considered to be one of the most important forage species found along the East Coast. This species of herring spends its entire life cycle in the ocean and is not known to enter rivers and estuaries. The species range is from Labrador to Virginia and they can be found from state waters out the edge of the continental shelf. Atlantic Herring are jointly managed by both the NEFMC & the ASMFC. The NEFMC conducts most of the management and the ASMFC manages spawning protections and some commercial activities. They are managed as one stock and the current status is that Atlantic Herring are not overfished and overfishing is not occurring. The next benchmark assessment is expected to be completed in late 2018.
There are multiple fleets that target this species commercially. The MAFMC management of Atlantic Mackerel is often intertwined with management if Atlantic Herring because often times the exact same vessels leave the dock seeking of encountering both species. Small mesh draggers/trawlers and purse seines are minor players with the vast majority of commercial landings coming from the industrial scale single and paired mid-water trawl fleet. This is one of the most controversial fishing fleets in the US because of its ability to catch millions of fish in a single tow and the fleets decade long battle to resist 100% monitoring of its catch & by-catch. Fissues.org regularly reports on the management of this controversial species.
The ASMFC met in Alexandra VA between MA8 & May 11, 2017. The following is a summary of what the staff here at Fissues feels were important enough discussion to take up our readers time. ASMFC Striped Bass Management Board voted not to move forward with Draft Addendum V to Amendment 6 of the Atlantic