Wednesday, June 18, 2014

ASMFC Protects the Little Guys

With historic votes, Atlantic marine councils seek to protect the ocean food chain
The ocean’s smallest fish have gotten some big breaks in recent months.

Fearing that shad and river herring have been fished nearly to oblivion, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council dramatically lowered the amount that can be pulled up along with mackerel by fishing trawlers.

Another panel, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, slashed the amount of menhaden that can be harvested three miles offshore. The protections were hailed by environmentalists because the three fish are a staple for nearly every big fish and bird that preys on marine life.

Members of the Mid-Atlantic council were worried about the fish because “for all intents and purposes, they’ve disappeared,” said John McMurray, a trawler captain in Long Island, N.Y., who sits on the council.

He said the council’s vote to lower the shad and mackerel bycatch to 89 metric tons is historic because the bycatch limit had already been lowered from 900 metric tons from 236 last year. Such decisions usually take years.
It's about time.

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