The New England Fisheries Management Council and the federal regulators are introducing new or amended regulations that will restrict the future catch limits of the Atlantic herring based on “scientific uncertainty” and the status on the stock population. These changes are up for public comment now and may be approved within the last part of this year. Maine and Massachusetts have had the largest Atlantic herring fisheries in the past and taking the lead in the changes due to this.
“The long-term management of forage fish in an ecosystem context depends on evaluating the tradeoffs between their direct market value and other ecosystem-related values,’ the council’s scoping document says.
These changes will not only affect the herring fisheries but other fisheries to include the lobster industry. The lobster industry uses the herring as bait. The herring fishery has a large indirect impact on other industries. If limits are set even the tourist industry can and will see the effect of less herring to use during whale watching tours. The tour companies use large amounts of herring to feed the whales during tours. On a positive note the tuna fisherman are in favor of the limits on herring. The tuna fishermen have stated that the more herring there are the more tuna there are to be caught.