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Registered User
4,419 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The closure of river herring fisheries in some Atlantic coastal states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Virginia and North Carolina) and observed declines in river herring abundance have led to questions about the adequacy of current management of the species to promote healthy fish stocks.
Amendment 1 to the Fisheries Management Plan states in its objectives that existing regulations for river herring fisheries "should keep fishing mortality sufficiently low to ensure survival and enhancement of depressed stocks and the maintenance of stabilized stocks" (ASMFC 1999); however, questions regarding mortality levels and whether they are low enough to prevent further stock declines have arisen. The Commission and the public have also expressed concern over the lack of monitoring of river herring populations, fisheries and bycatch. This document has been developed to address these questions and concerns.

1. River herring population monitoring requirements
(See Draft Amendment 2 sections 3.1 and 3.2
2. Bycatch monitoring requirements
(See Draft Amendment 2 Section 3.3);
3. Commercial fisheries management measures
(See Draft Amendment 2 Section 4.1); and
4. Recreational fisheries management measures (See Draft Amendment 2 Section 4.2)

The full document can be found at under "Breaking News"

The public is encouraged to submit comments during the public comment period.
Comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (EST) on January 1, 2009

You may submit public comment in one or more of the following ways:

1. Attend public hearings held in your state or jurisdiction
2. Refer comments to your state's member on the Shad and River Herring Management Board
or Advisory Panel, if applicable
3. Mail, fax, or email written comments to the following address:
Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1444 Eye Street NW, 6th Floor
Washington, DC 20005 Phone:
(202) 289-6400 Fax: (202) 289-6051​

SEND COMMENTS TO: [email protected]

(on subject line put: "River Herring")​


Registered User
4,419 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Re: Public Comment - Management Plan for American Shad and River Herring.

The following is a press release from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission:

ASMFC Approves River Herring Amendment
States Water Fisheries to be Closed by January 1, 2012 unless Sustainablity is Demonstrated through State-specific Management Plans

Alexandria, VA - The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has approved Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Shad and River Herring (River Herring Management). The Amendment prohibits state waters ommercial and recreational fisheries beginning January 1, 2012, unless a state or jurisdiction develops and submits for approval a sustainable management plan by January 1, 2010.

The Amendment defines a sustainable fishery as "a commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish the potential future stock reproduction and recruitment." Submitted plans must clearly demonstrate that the state or jurisdiction's river herring fisheries meet this new definition of sustainability through the development of sustainability targets which must be achieved and maintained. The plans are subject to Technical Committee review and Board approval prior to the fishing year beginning January 1, 2012. Proposals to re-open closed fisheries can be submitted annually as part of the annual state compliance report.

The Board's action of Amendment 2 was taken in response to widespread concern regarding the decline of river herring stocks. While many populations of blueback herring and alewife, collectively known as river herring, are in decline or remain depressed at stable levels, lack of fishery-dependent and independent data makes it difficult to ascertain the status of river herring stocks coastwide. Between 1985 and 2007, commercial landings of river herring decreased by 97 percent from 13.6 million pounds to 317,000 pounds. In response to declining stocks within their own waters, four states - Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and North Carolina - have closed their river herring fisheries.

Amendment 2 requires states to implement fisheries-dependent and independent monitoring programs. In recognition of limited state resources, the required monitoring will be identical to monitoring for American shad, a species closely related to river herring, so that monitoring can be conducted concurrently with current efforts. This monitoring will also assist the river herring stock assessment, which is expected to be completed in 2012. The Amendment also contains recommendations to member states and jurisdictions to conserve, restore, and protect critical river herring habitat.

River herring stocks are a multi-jurisdictional resource occurring in rivers and coastal and ocean waters. While oversight of river herring management in state waters lies with the Commission, river herring can be encountered in ocean fisheries beyond the states' jurisdiction. Bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries continues to be a significant concern. Preliminary analyses indicate that, in some years, the total bycatch of river herring by the Atlantic herring fleet alone could be equal to the total landings from the entire in-river directed fishery on the East Coast. Based on the Board's request, the Commission will send a letter to the Secretary of Commerce supporting efforts underway by the New England and Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Councils to effectively monitor bycatch of river herring in small mesh fisheries, and encouraging additional resources to support the cooperative efforts to better manage anadromous fisheries. Additionally, the Commission will !
request that the Secretary of Commerce take emergency action with regard to implementing the bycatch monitoring measures recently under discussion with New England Council.

The Plan will be available by mid-June and can be obtained via the Commission's website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at (202) 289-6400 or at [email protected].
Tina Berger
Public Affairs Specialist
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1444 I Street. NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202)289-6400
FAX: (202)289-6051
[email protected]

ASMFC Vision: Healthy, self-sustaining populations for all Atlantic coast fish species or successful restoration well in progress by the year 2015.

First Mate
654 Posts
Well it's about time something is done. I live on a lake in Northern NJ and we have always had a great alewife population. I have also in the past used these as bait, as have many others. A few years ago when traveling out in PA fishing I had asked where they get the bait from (at bait shops) and they would say Lake Hopatcong. I thought that was odd and thought that was alot of fish coming out of the lake.

Well over the years they have also introduced various species to the lake-Musky, hybrid stripers just to name a couple. Well the last few years when I would go to the bait shop to get herring I could not and if I could the picking were very slim. This year all I have seen is very small minnows. Don't get me wrong I love the fish they introduced to the lake as it has made for some awesome fishing. But that and the shipping of bait fish all over the place I feel has greatly affected if not destroyed the population.

I feel everyone has the right to make a buck, but if to make a buck you are overtaxing and reaping a natural resource then you need to find a new way to make a buck.

When I first heard about this management plan I didn't think much of it, I also thought the herring pop. had not affected me much. After much thought I knew I was wrong. This affects all of us as fisherman and a person in general, as this fish is part of a chain. If you break/kill a link in that chain(food chain) the whole system can come crashing down

Just my thoughts and we should all do our part
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