Attached below you will see the letter I emailed to the River Herring Fishery Management Plan Coordinator at ASMFC. The public comment period will end tomorrow. If you like, you make send email comments to her at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can fax them to her at: 202-289-6051. Its important if we ever are going to get the mid-water boats to be held accountable. Your recreational tuna and other sportfishing will be affected. Thanks, Bruce
Erika Robbins River Herring FMP Coordinator Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
RE: Public Information Document for Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for River Herring
As a charter captain, proper management of forage species is vital to my livelihood. Currently, I have serious concerns about bycatch of river herring in the directed herring fishery, specifically, by herring midwater trawlers.
These vessels are capable of doing great damage to river herring stocks due to their size and efficiency and it is no secret that they often interact with these important forage fish. While only ‘anecdotal’, there have been many reports over the years of serious bycatch incidents between the midwater trawl fleet and river herring.
Because of the lack of observer coverage and the rules permitting dumping, I believe there is too much uncertainty as to what exactly is being caught by these vessels. How can ever expect to reverse the decline of river herring if we do not even know how many are caught at sea?
For this reason, I would strongly suggest that you and the ASMFC use Amendment 2 to the river herring plan to increase accountability in the at-sea herring fishery. ASMFC should use the amendment to increase observer coverage as well as putting an end to dumping at sea without sampling. Furthermore, ASMFC should implement bycatch caps for the directed fishery.
We need to know what is happening at sea if we are ever going to manage river herring properly. The time for action is now.
Thanks for your time,
Capt. Bruce Peters Chatham, MA
508 255-0911 508 237-0399