National Fisherman

Herring. They go by many names, but the ones you see jumping, pooling and schooling in the runs from Falmouth to Brewster — we have about 10 runs, including some just regular old rivers, strung along our sandbar — are starting to fill up with river herring.
 
Also known as alewives and blueback herring, they are stripers favorite meal.
 
But a total ban in taking them from Massachusetts waterways has been in effect since 2006. The original three-year ban has been twice extended as herring numbers are not bouncing back.
 
In the vast Skagerrak waterway formed between Norway, Sweden and Denmark, as well as in the larger North Sea, commercial herring fishing thrived since at least the 12th century. Herring were plentiful.
 
And the "new" world was just silly with them, in their vast, uncountable schools, they clogged rivers from the Potomac to the Androscoggin. It was the Wampanoag sharing their secret for corn fertility — planting a few dead herring at the base of a new corn hill — that increased crop yields and helped the Pilgrims through those first difficult years.
 
But like many fish, herring face a veritable Pandora's box of pressure. Habitat degradation, the damming of rivers, overfishing and pollution have cut their numbers drastically, by as much as 95 percent by some esitimates.
 
A chart of their commercial landings from the mid-1960s until today looks like Enron's stock price — just an uninterrupted free fall. The last herring cannery in the United States, up in Maine, shuttered operations in 2010.
 
What is still caught commercially is often ground into meal or used for oil. They draw about half a dollar a pound, frozen solid, for export overseas, mostly to developing countries.
 
Read the full story at the Cape Cod Times>>

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

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