NAMA Comments on Amendment 4 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan

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The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance comments on the scoping process for Amendment 4 to the Herring FMP. The industrial herring fleet, which was invited into the Gulf of Maine by the federal government in the early 1990s and has expanded significantly since then, presents a particularly troublesome challenge to efforts of local fishing communities to bring back a healthy ecosystem that supports their traditional fisheries. These commercial fishermen are being asked or required time and time again to cut back or cease their normal fishing activities to allow the resource to recover. It’s taking longer than expected and even now more closures are being proposed. And yet, the Atlantic herring fishery is permitted to continue with little change in allowable catch and in what type of gear is taking the majority of the catch. While many community based fishermen are asked to give up their livelihoods to recover one fishery, others, many of them tied to the fiscally and physically mobile international fleet, continue un-hobbled because the New England Fishery Management Council and NMFS Northeast Regional Office fail to make the connections between one fishery and another. In this context, NAMA strongly believes that any areas closed to groundfish fishing should be closed to all fisheries except those that are known not to interact with or have bycatch of groundfish.

NAMA Herring Amend 4 comms final 30 June 8