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States Water Fisheries to be Closed by January 1, 2012 unless Sustainability is Demonstrated through State-specific Management Plans

 

 

Alexandria, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Shad and River Herring (River Herring Management). The Amendment prohibits state waters commercial and recreational fisheries beginning January 1, 2012, unless a state or jurisdiction develops and submits for approval a sustainable management plan by January 1, 2010. The Amendment defines a sustainable fishery as "a commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish the potential future stock reproduction and recruitment." Submitted plans must clearly demonstrate that the state or jurisdiction's river herring fisheries meet this new definition of sustainability through the development of sustainability targets which must be achieved and maintained. The plans are subject to Technical Committee review and Board approval prior to the fishing year beginning January 1, 2012. Proposals to re-open closed fisheries can be submitted annually as part of the annual state compliance report.

 

The Board's action of Amendment 2 was taken in response to widespread concern regarding the decline of river herring stocks. While many populations of blueback herring and alewife, collectively known as river herring, are in decline or remain depressed at stable levels, lack of fishery-dependent and independent data makes it difficult to ascertain the status of river herring stocks coastwide. Between 1985 and 2007, commercial landings of river herring decreased by 97 percent from 13.6 million pounds to 317,000 pounds. In response to declining stocks within their own waters, four states - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and North Carolina - have closed their river herring fisheries.

 

Amendment 2 requires states to implement fisheries-dependent and independent monitoring programs. In recognition of limited state resources, the required monitoring will be identical to monitoring for American shad, a species closely related to river herring, so that monitoring can be conducted concurrently with current efforts. This monitoring will also assist the river herring stock assessment, which is expected to be completed in 2012. The Amendment also contains recommendations to member states and jurisdictions to conserve, restore, and protect critical river herring habitat.

 

River herring stocks are a multi-jurisdictional resource occurring in rivers and coastal and ocean waters. While oversight of river herring management in state waters lies with the Commission, river herring can be encountered in ocean fisheries beyond the states' jurisdiction. Bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries continues to be a significant concern. Preliminary analyses indicate that, in some years, the total bycatch of river herring by the Atlantic herring fleet alone could be equal to the total landings from the entire in-river directed fishery on the East Coast. Based on the Board's request, the Commission will send a letter to the Secretary of Commerce supporting efforts underway by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils to effectively monitor bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries, and encouraging additional resources to support the cooperative efforts to better manage anadromous fisheries. Additionally, the Commission will request that the Secretary of Commerce take emergency action with regard to implementing the bycatch monitoring measures recently under discussion with New England Council.

 

The Plan will be available by mid-June and can be obtained via the Commission's website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or at ktaylor@asmfc.org.

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Posted on MSBA Talk Group

 

To all Recreational Fishermen Concerned with River Herring;

 

For over a year, recreational fishing and conservation groups have been working together to initiate better regulations in what has now been approved as Ammendment 2 to the River Herring Fishery Management Plan. On Wednesday, May 7, a significant step in the effort was achieved. The ASMFC voted to shut down all River Herring Fisheries unless the state's can demonstrate the particular fishery is sustainable. This common sense approach will allow fisheries to re open once they are restored to sustainable levels. In addition, the ASMFC also decided to request emergency action by the Secretary of Commerce so that by catch regulations in at sea fisheries are not put off for two to four years as is likely according to current fishery management development schedules. The approval of this new set of regulations was made possible because a wide variety of stakeholders have responded to the many calls for action over the past year. Make no mistake, the deal is not done and we still have to get the Secretary of Commerce to act on the request for emergency action as well as continue to fight for by catch limits in small mesh fisheries. More actions will be forthcoming but today is a day to feel good because the ASMFC has acted with courage and taken positive action. The press release from ASMFC is provided below.

 

Patrick Paquette

MSBA Gov't Affairs Officer

RFA, Acting State Chairperson

www.HonestBycatch.com

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 7, 2009

PRESS CONTACT, TINA BERGER, 202/289-6400

 

ASMFC Approves River Herring Amendment

States Water Fisheries to be Closed by January 1, 2012 unless Sustainablity is Demonstrated through State-specific Management Plans

 

 

Alexandria, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Shad and River Herring (River Herring Management). The Amendment prohibits state waters commercial and recreational fisheries beginning January 1, 2012, unless a state or jurisdiction develops and submits for approval a sustainable management plan by January 1, 2010. The Amendment defines a sustainable fishery as "a commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish the potential future stock reproduction and recruitment." Submitted plans must clearly demonstrate that the state or jurisdiction's river herring fisheries meet this new definition of sustainability through the development of sustainability targets which must be achieved and maintained. The plans are subject to Technical Committee review and Board approval prior to the fishing year beginning January 1, 2012. Proposals to re-open closed fisheries can be submitted annually as part of the annual state compliance report.

 

The Board's action of Amendment 2 was taken in response to widespread concern regarding the decline of river herring stocks. While many populations of blueback herring and alewife, collectively known as river herring, are in decline or remain depressed at stable levels, lack of fishery-dependent and independent data makes it difficult to ascertain the status of river herring stocks coastwide. Between 1985 and 2007, commercial landings of river herring decreased by 97 percent from 13.6 million pounds to 317,000 pounds. In response to declining stocks within their own waters, four states - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and North Carolina - have closed their river herring fisheries.

 

Amendment 2 requires states to implement fisheries-dependent and independent monitoring programs. In recognition of limited state resources, the required monitoring will be identical to monitoring for American shad, a species closely related to river herring, so that monitoring can be conducted concurrently with current efforts. This monitoring will also assist the river herring stock assessment, which is expected to be completed in 2012. The Amendment also contains recommendations to member states and jurisdictions to conserve, restore, and protect critical river herring habitat.

 

River herring stocks are a multi-jurisdictional resource occurring in rivers and coastal and ocean waters. While oversight of river herring management in state waters lies with the Commission, river herring can be encountered in ocean fisheries beyond the states' jurisdiction. Bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries continues to be a significant concern. Preliminary analyses indicate that, in some years, the total bycatch of river herring by the Atlantic herring fleet alone could be equal to the total landings from the entire in-river directed fishery on the East Coast. Based on the Board's request, the Commission will send a letter to the Secretary of Commerce supporting efforts underway by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils to effectively monitor bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries, and encouraging additional resources to support the cooperative efforts to better manage anadromous fisheries. Additionally, the Commission will request that the Secretary of Commerce take emergency action with regard to implementing the bycatch monitoring measures recently under discussion with New England Council.

 

The Plan will be available by mid-June and can be obtained via the Commission's website at www.asmfc.orgunder Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or at ktaylor@asmfc.org.

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3 years into a statewide possession ban in Mass, the Bournedale run in the Canal is having one of its best runs (so far at least, and fingers crossed for the rest of the month) of the last 8-9 years. icon14.gif

 

This is good news. Hopefully within the next 5 years, we'll be back to seeing half mile long schools of herring in the Canal, waiting to go up into the run clapping.gif

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View Post3 years into a statewide possession ban in Mass, the Bournedale run in the Canal is having one of its best runs (so far at least, and fingers crossed for the rest of the month) of the last 8-9 years. icon14.gif

 

This is good news. Hopefully within the next 5 years, we'll be back to seeing half mile long schools of herring in the Canal, waiting to go up into the run clapping.gif

 

And hopefully, once that milestone is reached again, things won't be allowed to go to crap just after recovery has been establishedcwm13.gifcwm13.gifcwm13.gif

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