National Fisherman

First oysters, now herring.

Bay Area Pacific herring fishermen are squaring off against the U.S. Department of the Interior to challenge a recent fishing ban, according to court documents.

In November, federal officials informed Bay Area fishermen that they would not be allowed to catch spawning herring in waters that abut protected Golden Gate National Recreation Area land. Since no federal law expressly permits fishing in waters off federal land, fishing is not allowed, GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean wrote.

The Pacific herring commercial fishery, which began in the 1870s, is the last of its kind in the Bay. The silver-colored, 8- to 10-inch long fish's value lies in their eggs, or roe. Processed roe is a staple in Japan.

In winter, the fish spawn in shallow coastal waters near estuaries. Fishermen nab pregnant herring as they head into these areas to spawn. The herring season in the Bay Area begins in January and ends in March, according to the California Department of Fish and Game.

Attorneys for the San Francisco Herring Association filed a lawsuit last week to challenge the federal restrictions, arguing that there is no federal law on the books that expressly gives the Interior Department the right to regulate fishing or other activities in the coastal areas in question.

Read the full story at San Francisco Examiner>>

Inside the Industry

Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.


The Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is teaming up with leading shark-tracking nonprofit Ocearch to build the most extensive shark-tagging program in the Gulf of Mexico region.

In October, Ocearch is bringing its unique research vessel, the M/V Ocearch, to the gulf for a multi-species study to generate previously unattainable data on critical shark species, including hammerhead, tiger and mako sharks.

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