Herring Campaign Update
Cape Cod’s small boat fleet has been concerned for many years about the industrial herring trawlers that fish off our shores - and for good reason. Herring are an important part of the food chain: they are critical prey for whales, birds and larger fish.
When these midwater trawlers remove large amounts of herring, it leaves inshore areas barren of this important food. Without herring to eat, many other fish move out of local waters. This type of industrial-scale fishing disrupts the entire marine food chain, which could also be impacting the ability of cod and other groundfish to rebuild.
For more than ten years, the Fishermen’s Alliance has been working with the New England Fishery Management Council to help protect Cape Cod’s inshore fisheries. We succeeded in 2007 with the creation of a buffer zone in the Gulf of Maine which kept midwater trawlers out of nearshore areas for nine months each year. Our current goal is to establish a similar buffer zone along the backside of the Cape that will eliminate large-scale industrial herring fishing in nearshore Cape waters.
In late January, a group of local fishermen traveled to the New England Fishery Management Council meeting and weighed in with public comments on a range of alternatives that included options for buffer zones from 12 to 50 miles off Cape Cod. The council approved the request for consideration of these important proposals, setting the stage for further discussions and recommendations that will hopefully address this serious issue. Click here to read more about the council's decision in their monthly newsletter.