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>>

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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