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Advocacy Comments on Scientific Basis of Future Herring Catch Limits

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NMFS's management of the herring fishery is a major issue at this time. In October and November, Advocacy held conference calls with the herring fishing industry and representatives from various offices at the Department of Commerce to discuss the herring specifications. In June 2009, the Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee (TRAC) performed a stock assessment. As a result of the TRAC report, the Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) set the acceptable biological catch (ABC) at 90,000 MT, which reduced the current ABC by more than 50%.

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									Regulatory News
NMFS Issues Final Rule on Georges Bank Herring Fisheries
by Jennifer Smith, Assistant Chief Counsel

On September 24, the Office of               cal concerns or due to spiny dog-     outside of the area for the remain-
Advocacy filed comments on the               fish in the catch to leave Closed     der of the trip rather than having to
National Marine Fisheries Service’s          Area I and to continue fishing        forfeit the entire catch
(NMFS) proposed rule on the Fish-
eries of the Northeastern United
States; Modification of the Gulf of            Advocacy Comments on Scientific Basis of
Maine/Georges Bank Herring Mid-                Future Herring Catch Limits
water Trawl Gear Authorization
Letter.                                        NMFS’ s management of the herring fishery is a major issue at this
   Advocacy’s comments echoed                  time In October and November, Advocacy held conference calls with
concerns raised by the fishing                 the herring fishing industry and representatives from various offices
industry Advocacy recommended                  at the Department of Commerce to discuss the herring specifications
that NMFS provide information                  In June 2009, the Transboundary Resources Assessment Commit-
about the catch rates and revenue              tee (TRAC) performed a stock assessment As a result of the TRAC
garnered from the particular areas             report, the Science and Statistical Committee (SSC) set the acceptable
so that the public can assess the              biological catch (ABC) at 90,000 MT, which reduced the current ABC
economic impact of this proposal               by more than 50 percent However, the SSC recognized that there is
Advocacy also recommended that                 substantial uncertainty in the June 2009 assessment; the New England
NMFS consider alternatives such                Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) has stated that the herring
as lifting the prohibition on fishing          fishery is not overfished and that the data from the TRAC assessment
without an observer if no observer             were questionable
is available; clarifying the phrase               Reducing the ABC by greater than 50 percent could have a dev-
“unless the fish has been brought              a
								
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