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Don't know if you have seen this.... herring

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River Herring Harvest Moratorium in Effect in Maryland

1/13/2012 | Posted by jdavidsburg

 

Tags: Commercial, Recreational

 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) confirms that there is now a statewide moratorium on the harvest of river herring - including blueback and alewife herring.

 

“This fishery closure was implemented on December 26, 2011, in response to a coast-wide concern regarding the depressed stock levels of blueback and alewife herring,” said DNR Fisheries Service Director Tom O’Connell. “This is evident by a 93 percent drop in commercial river herring landings along the Atlantic Coast since 1985.”

 

The Maryland commercial harvest of river herring has been falling since the early 1970s when the yearly average was about 700,000 pounds. Between 1990 and 1999 the yearly average was roughly 164,000 pounds. From 2005 to 2010 the average was just 35,200 pounds.

 

River herring contribute greatly to the dynamics of food chains in freshwater, estuarine and marine habitats, and at one time supported fisheries of significant socio-economic value. Maryland is not alone in taking action to restore river herring.

 

River herring and other fish species that travel between Atlantic Coast states from Maine to Florida are managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Every state from Maine to Florida was required to implement a harvest moratorium by January 1, 2012, unless sustainability of their fishery was demonstrated through State-specific management plans.

 

“With few exceptions, it is now illegal to possess river herring in Maryland,” said Mike Luisi, DNR Fisheries Service Assistant Director for Estuarine and Marine Fisheries.

 

Bait shops with leftover river herring in storage that were harvested prior to December 26, 2011 may possess the fish until June 30, 2012 by notifying DNR and having their inventory approved by February 6. Dealers wishing to declare their river herring inventory should contact DNR river herring coordinator Harry Rickabaugh at 410-643-6801 ext. 2109 or Karen Capossela at 410-643-6801 ext. 2116.

 

Anyone in possession of river herring as bait will need to have a receipt indicating where the herring was purchased. This will allow bait shops to sell, and fishermen to possess, river herring for bait that was harvested from a State whose fishery remains open, as an ASMFC approved sustainable fishery. States with open river herring fisheries include New York, Maine, New Hampshire, South Carolina and North Carolina.

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A moratorium on river herring has been in place in the New England States for something like 5 years now. The situation is pretty dire. Historic runs up there have had very few returing fish. Habitat destruction and the sea herring mid-water pair trawl industry seem to be the two biggest culprits causing this situation. For years people have been pointing to the to the trawl industry. A lot of people think that once river herring return to the sea that the schools mix with sea herring and they are caught in the nets and at that point are hard to differentiate. Regardless it is a sad situation. When I grew up I could ride my bike to three streams that happened to go by First, Second and Third Herring Brook. Us kids used to chase the fish around the shallows and have a ton of fun walking through the woods along the stream just looking at all of them. As far as I know those three runs are completely dead. Sad. I have the memories, my son may not.

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The moratorium covers the 2 main species of “river herring”…the Alewife and the Blueback. Both the Alewife and Blueback look similar, but are more distinguishable from the common Menhaden which is another herring species.

 

Local colloquialism has Alewives (plural for Alewife) pronounced as LYs…not too far off the correct enunciation. However, the local trade (bait sellers) of herring has many times labeled Menhaden as LYs… LYs and Menhaden are 2 different species of herring. So maybe now that there is a moratorium on LYs, perhaps the bait sellers will finally call Menhaden “Menhaden” aka “Bunker”…but as w/ many things on the DelMarVa, change is slow to come…so next time you see LYs for sale, stop and check it out because it might really be Bunker ;)...

 

 

Poppy

 

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It is funny and interesting the local terms used for different fish. The guys at koolice have always written "LY" on your ticket when purchasing bunker. I've had alewives (and other herring types) mixed in with menhaden quite a few times over the years. Also talked to some of the watermen who supply koolice a few times whle waiting for bait deliveries and some of them do not seem to differentiate between the various herrings....seems it's all just crab bait at X dollars a pound to them!

 

 

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Well the "catfishermen" won't have their favorite early spring bait. Maybe it will lessen the poaching of pre-spawn and spawning bass in the tribs..

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Well the "catfishermen" won't have their favorite early spring bait. Maybe it will lessen the poaching of pre-spawn and spawning bass in the tribs..

 

Doubtful... they will still fish Roaring Point with bloodworms and claim their fishing for perch... 'Perch rods' will be their surf roads, 10/0 circle hook baited with bloodworms...

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