Motherhood, Apple Pie and Herring 11-21-17

Motherhood, Apple Pie and Herring

from the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance

Cape Cod Today


There are some things so tied to the history and heritage of the Cape that they are universally loved and supported.
Herring is one of those things.
So it's not surprising that in recent weeks The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance has garnered broad support from citizens, non-profits, municipalities and public agencies across the Cape to urge the New England Fishery Management Council to create a buffer zone off our coastline to protect this iconic fish from large-scale mid-water herring trawlers.
Last week, the entire State House delegation representing the Cape and Islands, five Republicans and three Democrats, joined this groundswell in a united call to ask the Council to protect herring close to shore. By doing so, they made clear, the Cape's environment and economy also will be protected.
"Our communities have a long, intimate connection to the sea. The rich biodiversity of the area's marine ecosystem is at the heart of our region's existence and prosperity," read the delegation's letter, addressed to Council Director Thomas Nies.
Delegation members noted that river herring returning to spawn in our freshwater ponds have declined so much that it is now illegal for residents to catch even one. A key reason for the low numbers is mid-water trawlers, operating just a few miles offshore, capture huge amounts of two related species, river and ocean herring. The boats target ocean herring - which they scoop up by the millions - but mixed in as "by-catch" are river herring. So far this year trawlers have caught more than 30 metric tons of river herring, which they discard.
While towns spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild historic herring runs, trawlers make a mockery of that work.
Wiping out both species also removes key forage fish that are crucial to a healthy ecosystem, as the state delegation noted:
"Doing so drives all the other species that feed on herring further away, from tuna to codfish to stripers to whales."
The delegation's concerns have been echoed up and down the Cape. Virtually every town board of selectmen has sent a letter calling for a buffer zone, as have the Barnstable County Commissioners and Assembly of Delegates. Environmental groups such as the Association to Preserve Cape Cod, The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, and local conservation trusts are also calling on the Council to support a buffer zone at its December meeting.
"From Provincetown to Falmouth Harbor, small commercial, private and charter boats leave the harbor to participate in fisheries such as tuna, cod, haddock and striper," Tracy Post, president of the Cape Cod and Islands Selectmen and Councilors Association, wrote in a supporting letter.
"But now these species are troubled because of the localized depletion of herring species caused by midwater trawlers."
At the council's meeting, which takes place Dec. 5-7, members are expected to vote to release specific options for public comment. A formal vote is expected early next spring.
"We believe that the strong voices of people across the Cape and Islands must be heard at the federal level," said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance. "Establishing this buffer zone will benefit fishermen, of course, but even more so the entire community, and the fishermen of tomorrow."

From Forum

Herring Public Forum Exemption to Wetland Act for herring protection
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Run Counts 2015 Herring Counts
DaveC > 25-July-2016

Herring Management Town Brook alewives get a free ride to Billington Sea
KnightofNi > 29-April-2016

Herring Public Forum River Herring Migration Series at WHOI
KnightofNi > 30-April-2015

Eels Fines Increased for Herring Poaching
Jones River > 15-April-2015

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