New England Fisheries

Don’t Let River Herring (and Tax Dollars) Get Lost At Sea

Fisheries managers should take an ecosystem-based approach, including protection for forage fish like these river herring. Photo credit: Mike Laptew

Click here to see the full web feature from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Fisheries managers in New England and the mid-Atlantic have a chance to protect river herring and safeguard the public investment of millions of restoration dollars. The fishery management councils for these two regions are set to vote on measures to control the number of these important but imperiled fish that are killed needlessly at sea.

River herring and their cousins, shad, spend much of their lives in the ocean and return to the waterways where they were born to spawn. A lethal combination of dams blocking access to native rivers and industrial-scale fishing at sea has pushed many populations to record low numbers.

Millions of dollars and untold hours of volunteer effort have gone into restoring these fish by removing dams, installing fish passages, and improving river habitat. But those efforts are undermined when the fish return to sea. Too often, they are scooped up by a powerful fishing fleet targeting other species such as Atlantic herring and mackerel.

“Dams have come down, fish ladders and passages have gone up, and yet we have still not regulated the damage caused by some of the largest fishing vessels on the Atlantic coast,” explained Peter Bakernortheast oceans director for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

“We can’t continue to let these investments in our rivers be put at risk by wasteful fishing practices at sea,” cautioned Baker.

Click here to see the full web feature from The Pew Charitable Trusts.


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