Atlantic Herring Conservation Plan an Important Step Forward

Plymouth, Mass.  — The New England Fisheries Management Council today voted to implement new Atlantic herring conservation measures in the face of declining stocks. The plan includes a 12-mile coastal buffer zone in New England waters, as well as additional areas off Cape Cod.

Zach Cockrum, director of conservation partnerships at the National Wildlife Federation’s Northeast Regional Center, said today:

“This is a step in the right direction at a time when herring are at a dangerous tipping point, but we would have liked to see the Council listen to the series of New England recreational anglers who testified in favor of even stronger limits on ever-growing mid-water trawlers. Science-based conservation management plans can benefit everyone. No one who depends on herring – anglers, the commercial fishing industry, or marine predators – are served well by dwindling populations and boom-and-bust cycles.

“Today’s vote is one step toward the ecosystem-based management we need to protect New England’s outdoor heritage. It’s not just herring that are declining – menhaden and the predators that depend on them may be at risk unless we do more to conserve forage fish. The National Wildlife Federation will continue working to make sure fisheries management reflects what science says is needed to conserve our forage fish, sportfish, marine mammals and sea birds for future generations.”

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