Environmental Initiatives

Our Goals

The campaign works with a coalition of nonprofit organizations from across the Northeast who are committed to reforming the industrial Atlantic herring fishery. The massive trawlers that fish for herring need to be more adequately regulated and fishing needs to be more closely monitored. We need your help to accomplish our goals.

  • Science-Based Catch Limits - Use a science-based ecosystem approach when setting catch limits so that we can be assured there is enough herring in the ocean.
  • Limit Fishing in Specific Areas - Limit fishing in specific areas of the ocean during critical times of the year to protect depleted river herring, recovering groundfish, spawning Atlantic herring and other wildlife vulnerable to midwater trawl bycatch
  • Monitor Fisheries - Develop a system to monitor the fishery effectively so that estimating the Atlantic herring catch and bycatch of depleted river herring, groundfish and marine mammals is more accurate.

Campaign Progress

  • Herring Fishery Management Plan Added: Sep. 1, 2010

    In September 2010, progress was made toward protecting depleted river herring and spawning Atlantic herring. The New England Fishery Management Council directed its Herring Oversight Committee to develop a proposal for setting a hard limit on the amount of river herring killed by the industrial fleet. The Council also asked this committee to create a plan to protect spawning herring. The Pew Environment Group worked hard to make sure these conservation measures were taken into consideration.

  • New England Council Protects Atlantic Herring Added: Nov. 25, 2009

    In November 2009, the New England Fishery Management Council used the best science available to set lower catch levels for the Atlantic herring fishery. This new approach will help maintain healthy herring populations.

  • National Marine Fisheries Service Monitors Trawlers Added: Nov. 2, 2009

    The National Marine Fisheries Service enacted new monitoring requirements in November 2009 for herring midwater trawlers fishing in protected areas, called groundfish closed areas, off of Cape Cod. These industrial vessels are now required to have a government-trained observer on board all trips to this sensitive area–designated because of its importance to spawning and juvenile groundfish. Although these new requirements are still being finalized, they represent a big improvement in the oversight of midwater trawlers, because 100 percent of observer coverage is required and most discarding of fish before observers can sample it will trigger accountability measures. We continue to work to both improve these rules and to create models for the entire fishery that build upon them as a model.

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