By Zack Klyver and Pete Kaizer
Reprinted from Bangor Daily News
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is releasing $11 million in disaster relief funds to Atlantic herring harvesters, of which $7 million will go to Maine. These funds should be used to phase out herring trawling by buying back fishing permits in an effort to increase herring stocks and to protect other marine life.
U.S. Atlantic herring landings in the 2000s averaged 206 million pounds annually but have since decreased to below 22 million pounds in 2020 and 2021. The New England Fishery Management Council led a process to craft a 10-year rebuilding plan. This dramatic downturn in herring is likely because variables with climate change are reducing ocean productivity resulting in seven consecutive years of low numbers of young fish surviving to maturity.