Federal fishing managers are looking for feedback on a plan to further reduce the East Coast limit for herring fishing.
Herring are an important bait fish, especially for lobster fishermen, but the East Coast quota for the fish has been cut back in recent years due to concerns about the health of the fish’s population. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is considering reducing the catch limit for the fish by about a quarter, to about 25 million pounds, in 2020.
NOAA is taking comments on the proposal until Feb. 12. An assessment of the herring stock in 2018 found that the fish were not subject to overfishing, but also stated that “poor recruitment would likely result in a substantial decline in herring biomass over the next several years.”
The herring fleet makes up a major piece of the East Coast commercial fishing business. Most of the fish come to land in Maine and Massachusetts. Catches of more than 100 million pounds per year were common before recent quota cutbacks. The fish are also canned for use as food.