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Action Alert--Emails needed tonight--limit by catch

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Honest By Catch.com & MSBA Action Alert

 

The New England Fisheries Management Council is developing an Amendment or set of regulations to manage observers & by catch in the Atlantic Herring Fishery. This fishery primarily targets Sea Herring and is where the mid water trawl and pair trawl operations are known to catch large amounts of River Herring, Haddock, Scup, Shad, some Striped Bass and more. To learn more about the issue check out www.Honestbycatch.com

 

Currently, the Herring Oversight Committee is developing alternatives or options for the full council. At their December meeting only one set of alternatives was approved. The whole point of the process is for a range of alternatives to be analyzed for the full council. This step is also important because by the time the proposed regulations are released for public comment, it is too late to add new ideas because of the amount of evaluation that has to be done for an option to be legal.

 

The next meeting of the Herring Oversight Committee is tomorrow, January 28th at 9:30am at the Sheraton Providence Airport Hotel in RI. One of the items on the agenda for this meeting is for the committee to "review analysis of river herring bycatch in the atlantic herring industry". Links to the full agenda & meeting materials are posted here.

 

Agenda: http://www.nefmc.org/calendar/index.html

 

Materials: http://www.nefmc.org/calendar/index.html

 

Obviously, interested members of the public do not have the time to review all of the meeting materials. However you can still make a difference

 

The best way for you to make a difference is to attend the hearing because the more recreational fishermen and interested members of the public the more the regulators are able to stand up to industry pressure and write a good regulation. Just being in the room paying attention is important all by itself. If you then wish to speak at the times allowed you can and you do not have to sound like a scientist to do so. At the end of this section we have provided some basic ideas we feel should be included in the options.

 

Send E-mails & make calls now:

We urge all recreational fishers call and e-mail support of the CHOIR coalition proposal which can be read in the meeting materials link above. Key points to this proposal include:

 

Prohibit dumping (aka "slippage") of a net while observers are on board.

Require observers on both vessels in a pair trawl.

Require 100 per cent observers in ground fish closed areas

Require a high level of observers at all times

Use time and area closures for locations known to have a history of by catch incidents

 

Please contact your state committee members today:

 

All States

Sally McGee

Environmental Defense

860/572-0190

email:smcgee@environmentaldefense.org

 

Rho de Island

Mark Gibson, Acting Chief

RI Division of Fish and Wildlife

401/783-8906

email: mark.gibson@dem.ri.gov

 

Massachusetts

David E. Pierce, Deputy Director

Division of Marine Fisheries

251 Causeway Street

Boston, MA 02114

617/626-1532/Fax:617/626-1509

email: david.pierce@state.ma.us

 

Maine

Terry Stockwell

ME Department of Marine Resources

21 State House Station

Augusta , ME 04333-0021

207/624-6562/Fax:207/624-6024

email: terry.stockwell@maine.gov

 

New Hampshire

Doug Grout, Chief, Marine Division

NH Fish and Game Department

225 Main Street

Durham, NH 03824

603/868-1096/Fax:603/868-3305

email: douglas.grout@wildlife.nh.gov

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Update:

 

On Wednesday January 28th the NEFMC Herring Oversight Committee met to, among other things, craft recommendations for management alternatives for inclusion in Herring Amendment 4.

 

The Committee voted 7-1 to include the entire CHOIR proposal with Mary Beth Tooley from ME being the only no vote. The CHOIR proposal is the most effective from the perspective of protection of both forage and sport fish. The committee also voted to include the Industry proposal however this was definately a great step forward. The backbone of the CHOIR proposal is the idea of maximized retention (observes get to see ALL fish caught before being dumped), onboard electronic monitoring (cameras) and a strong

shoreside monitoring program.

 

The CHOIR Proposal alternative and three others will now be forwarded by the

Committee to the full Council, which will now need to officially accept all four

as alternatives. They will be discussing this at the upcoming Council meeting in

Portsmouth, NH, the week of February 9th.

 

The Honest ByCatch movement will be conducting an action alert aimed at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission river Herring Meetings going on next week and then another action alert aimed at the New England Fisheries Management Council Meeting mentioned above during the following week.

 

Watch this web site for these upcoming actions.

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