Hi Folks ! I have just received an action request from Chris Weiner of the Choir coalition. CHOIR is a group trying to get better observe coverages on the mid water herring trawl fleet. NMFS has cut the budget for this very critical observer coverage and with your support they hopefully will restore and increase funding that is needed to protect our forage species. If you can please take a second and cut and paste this letter to your word processor and add the relevant changes and then send it on to the addresses in the letter.
Month, Day, Year
Paul Howard, Executive Director New England Fisheries Management Council 50 Water Street, Mill 2 Newburyport, MA 01950
Patricia Kurkul, Regional Administrator Northeast Region, NOAA Fisheries One Blackburn Drive Gloucester, MA 01930-2298
RE: Action Needed to Fix Herring Fishery
Dear Captain Howard and Administrator Kurkul,
I write to you today because I am extremely concerned about the health of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the traditional fisheries and communities it supports. My concern arises from the inadequate management of New England’s industrial herring fleet.
The Atlantic herring fishery has serious problems that need to be addressed with a framework to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Currently, midwater trawlers and United States At-sea Processors (USAPs) are operating without proper monitoring and insufficient observer coverage levels. In addition, midwater trawl ships are allowed to operate in groundfish closed areas even though they have a proven bycatch of groundfish, including substantial bycatches of juvenile haddock. Midwater trawl ships also operate near shore, creating substantial gear conflicts. It’s time for the New England Fisheries Management Council and the National Marine Fisheries Service to initiate a framework that will fix these glaring deficiencies in the herring FMP. The framework should include: · Mandatory industry-funded observer coverage for midwater trawlers and USAPs · Requirements to bring all fish aboard for sampling (no dumping of bags at sea) · Ecosystem-based Area Total Allowable Catch (TAC) setting that takes the needs of predators into account · A mandatory weigh-master system whenever midwater trawl ships unload that reports catch and bycatch on a daily basis · An inshore buffer zone that keeps midwater trawl ships at least 50 miles from shore
In addition to changes to the herring FMP, action needs to be taken to keep midwater trawl ships out of Groundfish Closed Areas to protect groundfish stocks of concern. Bycatch caps, such as those instituted for haddock as part of Framework 43 to the multispecies groundfish FMP, need to be put in place to protect, at a minimum: groundfish stocks of concern and whiting.
The fleet of 100+ foot midwater trawl ships currently operating in New England poses a grave threat to the future of New England’s healthy fisheries and the rebuilding of groundfish and whiting stocks. I encourage you to take action immediately to protect our marine ecosystem and our traditional fisheries.
(Your name) (Your town, your state)
You can either send in the letter to Paul Howard and Pat Kurkul at the mailing addresses on the letter, or send them in email form to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks very much, Bruce
Capt. Bruce Peters Capeshores Charters PO Box 947 East Orleans, MA 02643 508 255-0911 h 508 237-0399 c email@example.com http://www.sportfishingcapecod.com