Fed­eral of­fi­cials weigh changes in her­ring fish­ing reg­u­la­tions

Woonsocket Call - - Region/obituaries -

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Fed­eral fish­ing reg­u­la­tors are con­sid­er­ing chang­ing the way they man­age one of the largest fish­eries on the East Coast to bet­ter ac­count for its im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment and other in­dus­tries.

The reg­u­la­tory New Eng­land Fishery Man­age­ment Coun­cil has re­leased a group of al­ter­na­tives for how it could change man­age­ment of At­lantic her­ring. The small, school­ing fish are har­vested from Maine to Florida and are used for fish oil, food for hu­mans and bait for fish­er­men and lob­ster­men.

The pro­posed rules are fo­cused in part on the is­sue of po­ten­tial "lo­cal­ized de­ple­tion," which is a con­tro­ver­sial sub­ject in the fishery. Some en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, mem­bers of other fish­eries and eco­tourism busi­nesses claim that in­tense con­cen­tra- tions of her­ring boats can neg­a­tively im­pact the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment by re­duc­ing avail­abil­ity of other species.

At­lantic her­ring are a key piece of the ocean food web, and their avail­abil­ity is im­por­tant to ev­ery­one from whale watch boat cap­tains to tuna fish­er­men.

"Some peo­ple do not think we have lo­cal­ized de­ple­tion, and oth­ers think we do," said Jan­ice Plante, a spokes­woman for the fishery man­age­ment coun­cil, adding that new rules "might change where they catch this fish."

The pro­posed changes could al­ter when and where fish­er­men are al­lowed to pur­sue her­ring and what kind of gear they can use. The coun­cil voted Tues­day to send the pro­posal out for pub­lic com­ment. The coun­cil says pub­lic hear­ings will be held in early 2018 and a fi­nal de­ci­sion will be made later in the year.

Wikimedia Com­mons

Fish­er­men ex­am­ine a her­ring catch on a boat in the north­west At­lantic Ocean in 2005.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.