Herring Alliance Blog

Insights from Herring Alliance members, outside experts and fishermen



We Can Restore River Herring! But the Mid Atlantic Council and NOAA Fisheries need to step up

By Capt. John McMurray
Originally published on Reel-Time.com
August 26, 2013

If you've been lucky enough to be there when river herring (bluebacks or alewives) clash with striped bass you know why we call them, "striper candy". It's a big bait that attracts big fish, and makes them act really stupid. Of course not only striped bass, but bluefin, yellowfin, cod, bluefish, weakfish and dozens of other predators go nuts over river herring... At least they used to.

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NOAA Kicks the Can Down the Road on River Herring Protections

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has declined a petition by Herring Alliance member Natural Resources Defense Council to list blueback herring and alewives—collectively known as river herring—as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. NRDC's petition documented the sharp declines of many populations of river herring and the urgent need to address habitat loss in rivers and unchecked fishing at sea. Herring Alliance partners continue to report severe declines in many Atlantic coast rivers. But the agency announced Aug. 7 that listing the species was "unwarranted at this time," citing incomplete data about the status of river herring in some parts of their range and conservation efforts currently being considered.

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A Disappointing Decision on Monitoring the Herring Fleet

NOAA's rejection of Amendment 5 a setback

The Herring Alliance is deeply disappointed that NOAA Fisheries has rejected key parts of a proposal to improve monitoring of the Atlantic herring fishery, despite years of work by fisheries managers in New England and broad support from stakeholders. This is a serious setback to efforts to bring accountability to the industrial herring fleet and protect our coastal ecosystems.

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Over 60 organizations working for forage fish!

Spanning the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts and ranging from small, community-based groups to large national organizations, there is one thing Herring Alliance members have in common: an appreciation for the ecological, economic and cultural importance of river herring and shad to the Atlantic coast. This recognition is increasingly bringing new members to the forage-fish focused coalition, and we are proud to announce that we recently reached—and surpassed—60 members!

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Mass river herring rules allow landing bycatch

As river herring make their way up our coastal rivers to spawn, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) is revising rules that apply to river herring catch. The state is taking public comment through this coming Friday, April 26. In state waters, no one has been allowed to catch or possess river herring for eight years. However, river herring are caught as bycatch in federal waters, by industrial vessels targeting Atlantic herring.

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