CHOIR: Coalition for the Atlantic Herring Fishery's Orderly, Informed, and Responsible Long-Term Development


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Herring Final Rule Eliminates Midwater Trawlers from Inshore

March 16, 2007

For Immeadiate Release
Contact: Peter Baker

Herring Final Rule Eliminates Midwater Trawlers from Inshore
CHOIR Coalition announces victory in mission to reform the Atlantic Herring Fishery

Commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, ecotourism businesses, and concerned coastal residents throughout New England are encouraged by the recent adoption of Amendment 1 to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan (FMP). After years of stakeholder input and literally thousands of letters and testimonials calling for more responsible management of the herring resource, the National Marine Fisheries Service has listened to the will of the public and identified the long-term health of herring stocks as a priority.

The CHOIR Coalition, the Coalition for the Atlantic Herring Fishery’s Orderly, Informed, and Responsible Long-Term Development, has advocated for a purse seine/fixed gear only area that would remove the detrimental midwater fleet from the inshore Gulf of Maine from June through September of each fishing year. Today’s announcement is a great assurance that traditional fishing grounds will not be exploited by the midwater trawlers next summer, giving commercial and recreational fishermen hope that other commercially important species will have a chance to thrive.

“I think that adoption of Amendment 1 is a great thing for New England fishermen. It means that there will be a more appropriate type of fishing inshore during the summer months. Local fishermen will benefit, as will the lobster industry, because the bait supply will be more consistent,” said Steve Weiner of the East Coast Tuna Association.

Zack Klyver, Bar Harbor Whale Watch naturalist for sixteen years, praised the approval of Herring Amendment 1. “The seasonal ban on mid-water and pair trawling in Area 1A is a huge step in the right direction toward ecosystem management. Hopefully this will be a great leap forward in reducing the impact of localized depletion on near shore fisheries, wildlife and New England’s economically important whale watching industry”

“This is the kind of rule we have needed for years,” said Ray Kane, a commercial fishermen from Chatham, Mass. “I hope that there are more restrictions like this for the sake of all of the fishermen on the East Coast. The midwater boats need to be out of the inshore. We have been saying it for years, and NMFS has finally listened.”

Peter Baker, Chairman of the CHOIR Coalition added the following comment: “I think that it is great that all of these groups came together on this issue. These are groups that usually disagree, but with an issue as important as herring, we were united. This is a forage fish that so many other fish rely on. I am glad to see the adoption of Amendment 1.”

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