Take Action: Protect Our Nation's Oceans

Take Action: Protect Atlantic Herring and New England's Coastal Ecosystem

We need your help to protect Atlantic herring and the marine predators that rely on this small but mighty fish. Herring is an important food for whales, seabirds, and larger fish like cod and tuna. New England fishery managers have new ideas for managing this important forage fish, and they are bringing these proposals to the public.

You can make a difference by submitting a comment today!

A healthy population of Atlantic herring is important for the marine ecosystem. The latest science shows that forage fish like herring need to be managed in a unique way. Fishing heavily for herring has cascading effects on many other species, and new tools can account for the special role forage fish play in the marine ecosystem.

The Atlantic herring is also important to the East Coast economy, supporting commercial and recreational fishing for cod and striped bass, and ecotourism businesses such as whale watching. Large, industrial boats called midwater trawlers can scoop up millions of herring in one pass of their nets. This depletes the local herring population and drives away animals that eat this fish. These huge vessels should not be allowed to operate in ecologically important and sensitive waters close to shore, which provide habitat and feeding grounds for so many species.

Please tell decision-makers that you care about New England’s coastal ecosystem and economy.

Complete the form below

Add a personal comment

Tell fishery managers why you want Atlantic herring to be protected. Your comment will be added to the letter below and sent to the New England Fishery Management Council.

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Message to fishery managers

DEIS for Amendment 8 to the Atlantic Herring FMP

Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director
New England Fishery Management Council
50 Water St., Mill 2
Newburyport, MA 01950

Dear Mr. Nies:

[Your comment will go here.]

I am commenting on the management of Atlantic herring, a key forage fish in New England. The latest research on forage fish indicates that these species need to be managed differently from other fish because of the unique role they play in the marine ecosystem. The largest fishing vessels on the East Coast, midwater trawlers, fish for herring in New England waters. This gear needs to be carefully controlled and should not be used in ecologically sensitive areas close to shore.

Impacts of fishing on the Atlantic herring population have cascading effects on predator populations, including humpback whales, seabirds, tuna, cod, and striped bass. Industrial fishing for herring has consequences for coastal economies, and for the commercial and recreational businesses that depend on predators (fishing for larger fish, whale watching, etc.). Fishery managers need to balance trade-offs carefully. Amendment 8 gives the Council tools to allow a robust herring fishery, leave enough herring for predators, and support the businesses and economies that rely on healthy predator populations and a healthy ecosystem.

The Council should select the following alternatives when it takes final action in September:

  • Control rule: The Council should select Alternative 2.
  • Localized depletion/buffer zone: The Council should select a buffer zone that extends 50 miles offshore year-round. The buffer zone should include parts of areas 1B, 2, and 3 in which midwater trawl fishing would not be allowed to operate (Alternative 6, Area Sub-option A, and Seasonal Sub-option A)

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. I strongly encourage the Council to protect Atlantic herring populations and adopt alternatives that consider their unique role in New England’s coastal economy and ecosystem.


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