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

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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