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Fishery Council Catches On to Ecosystem-based Management for Herring

Our letter to the fishery council will bring many voices to the management of herring.

You may read our letter with 1260 signatures from all fifty states and hundreds of comments by clicking here – Herring Amendment ORI Letter – for the pdf.

Twelve Selected Comments

Click here to view 250 more comments

Herring Amendment ORI Letter

Herring sustain many other species and are indispensable to a healthy marine ecosystem. We cannot afford their loss despite their lack of cuteness.

Grace Neff, Albany, OR 97322


Herring are an important part of the food chain and their loss could have a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem. They are not an expendable species!

Crystal Rector, Phoenix, AZ 85051


As an avid cook, I cannot imagine being without herring!  They are delicious and nutritious and should be protected at all costs. They are also critical to a healthy ocean environment.

Raymond Arent, Severna Park, MD 21146


Friends make their living fishing the coast of Maine – climate change is bad enough; strong regulations are needed to preserve this traditional way of life.

Terri Neill, Cape Neddick, ME 03902


As a descendant of many generations of fishermen and as a coastal resident, I am well aware of the need to maintain sustainable herring and alewife stocks. The health of the whole fishery is dependant on the health of feeder fish.

Ruth Boice, Shamong, NJ 08088


Good to see NE fisheries managed by people who are knowledgeable in the principles of modern ecology.  This is evident in your manage of herring as forage fish.

John Moss, Santa Monica, CA 90405


I personally don’t eat herring but I can’t imagine an ocean without the many, many species that depend on herring to exist. It’s a delicate balance, the oceanic ecosystem, and we need to be better educated stewards of it than we have been. Take the right steps to ensure that this critically important fish remains abundant enough that ALL animals depending on it (including us) can thrive.

Linda Robbins, Rockville, MD 20850


Herring, shad, menhaden, sardines — feeder fish way down on the bottom of the food chain. Which is why they’re absolutely essential to the health of all the critters (including people) higher in that chain. They’re what’s known as a keystone species. Remove them and you risk unraveling the ecosystem. Allow them to die out at your own peril.

Wayne Straight, Sykesville, MD 21784-5604


Every animal and fish has a place and a function in the balance of the ecosystem it lives in.  If you take away the herring, you throw that ecosystem out of balance, and from there things will only get worse for all the other creatures.  We humans suffer, too, when the ecosystems around us start to decline. The quality of our humanity is shown in the way we treat animals, fish and any other creature.  Please protect the herring as part of the delicate balance of its ecosystem and as part of our planet!  Go with the most responsible amendment.

Susan Tackett, Alexander, NC 28701


For decades, now, I’ve felt that all fishing should be managed in a way to be sustainable.  Over fishing of species will lead to their extinction, and the oceans seem remarkably less populous already.  Herring are important to the food chain and their existence needs to be preserved.  I live in a fishing town, and have seen first-hand the dearth in catch.  I have also lost a fisherman friend at sea, this year, as he tried to provide for his family. Please support inshore fishermen and send mid-water trawlers offshore.

Joey Hachtman, Point PLeasant Beach, NJ 08742


These fish are the core of the mid-trophic level of the Atlantic nearshore ecosystem. This is a vital functional component that has been devastated by decades of overfishing. Oceans cannot sustain their own populations of predatory wildlife when their prey fish are being scooped from the Atlantic. Unless and until the Atlantic Herring are recovered, anyone wishing the great privilege of helping themselves to the ocean’s biomass must be confined to what this fragile population can bear, without impeding recovery.

Jim Steitz, Gatlinburg, TN 37738


I have seined herring off of Seabrook, NH, in the fall of 1980.  We took them in water deep enough that we were competing with whales, and sometimes had to back down the seine boat to avoid snaring a whale.  These herring were taken before they reached their hereditary spawning ground inshore, and they drooled their milt and roe into the fishhold.  That is, they left no young to continue their species.  The taking of any clupeid offshore in a mobile net should be forbidden, period.  The clupeid suite–menhaden, sea herring, alewives and bluebacks–are the lipid base of the entire “trophic pyramid” that depends on them for reproduction.  Their lipids are essential to the formation of healthy gametes, as you know, and as fishermen should know.  Starting with the introduction of purse seines in the mid 19th century, and proceeding through the use of pair trawlers today, the entire clupeid suite has been decimated into near irrelevance.  Consequently, the tuna and swordfish and demersals that were taken within sight of land in the 19th century are rarely found inshore, and increasingly, they are rarely found offshore in any quantity or size.  If you eat most animals before they have reproduced, they are not likely to reproduce.  If they can reproduce after you’ve eaten them, you’ll wish you hadn’t eaten them.  I have a great deal of data to support this idea of forbidding seining clupeids offshore–and Ted Ames’s paper on cod spawning grounds would suggest it as well.  Until the prevalence of steam (and then diesel) seiners and draggers eliminated the “shore” category after 1924, more seafood by weight and variety was taken in the ME “shore fishery” than in the ME “vessel” or offshore fishery.

William Leavenworth, Searsmont, ME 04973

12 responses on “Fishery Council Catches On to Ecosystem-based Management for Herring

  1. Eugene Brusin

    To adopt a plan that uses science and planning for the future instead of Wall Street profits is an intelligent choice for nature and the fish. This plan will ensure that the herring and other fish will survive and keep the ecosystem operating for the future.

  2. Dr Lindsay G Sharp

    This plan is essential for the relevant biomes. Please accept and adopt it. It is rational and scientifically appropriate.

  3. paul schutt

    To adopt a plan that uses science and planning for the future instead of Wall Street profits is an intelligent choice for nature and the fish. This plan will ensure that the herring and other fish will survive and keep the ecosystem operating for the future.

  4. Peter Mulshine

    In the1960’s my mom would buy huge cod fillets. In the shop rite n it was the best dinner we had! Cod has to be allowed to recover. All the dams in the streams have to be removed or repaired to restore fish passage up and downstream. Regulate Fish life cycles for prosperous forage fish.

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