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


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Council makes the right decision

November 09, 2007


On Wednesday the NEFMC made the right decision to address herring management in 2008 by setting herring as a “management priority”. The Council received roughly 10,000 comments from the public supporting the move to prioritize herring, far more than it has ever received on any issue in the past.

The Council’s executive committiee met on Monday to set a list of issues it felt should be addressed in 2008. Herring was one of the six isues that the ExCom put on the list.

On Wednesday morning, this list went to the full Council, which had final say over the final outcome of what would and would not be a priority in 2008.

Immeadiatly, Dr. David Pierce from Massachusetts attempted to push herring off the list. Dave Goethel eventually made a motion to substitute whiting for herring on the priority list. Dave, a whiting fisherman with signifcant landings history, felt that putting a limited access system in the whiting fishery was important enough to bump herring off the list.

Also speaking out strongly against herring being on the list were Jim Odlin and Jim Salisbury. Many in the audience were amazed that Odlin, with such a direct conflict of interest, was even allowed to vote on the issue.

While many would agree that whiting is an important issue, it was made clear by Pat Kurkul, Paul Howard and John Pappalardo that there is not enough data at this time to make any further actions in regards to whiting management. In other words, putting whiting on the list would be pointless. And more importantly, many in New England would argue that, other than groundfish, no fishery in the region needs to be addressed more than herring fishery does.

In the end, herring won in a slim vote (9-8) and will be addressed in the coming year by the Council.

Those who voted to push herring off the list were: David Pierce (MA), Terry Stockwell (ME), Doug Grout (NH), Jim Odlin, Jim Salisbury, Dave Goethel and Rodney Avila.

Voting in favor of keeping herring on the list were: Mark Gibson (RI), Dave Simpson (CT), Mike Leary, Tom Hill, Frank Blount, Sally McGee, Rip Cunningham, Dave Preble and Pat Kurkul (NMFS).

CHOIR would like to thank those nine Council members for voting to ensure that herring will be addressed in 2008. CHOIR, which speaks for many of the region’s commercial and recreational fishermen, has serious concerns about herring management. Making herring a priority will allow for this very important issue to be discussed and hopefully for changes to be made that will ensure proper management of this vital resource.

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