Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission extends Herring catch limits to prolong catch of lobster bait

atlantic herringThe Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has extended some of Maine’s emergency Atlantic herring restrictions to Massachusetts to try to close a loophole that threatened to derail the summer supply of lobster bait. On Wednesday, the Commission voted 2-1 to cut the number of days that herring boats can land fish each week within its jurisdiction from five to two, with Maine and New Hampshire representatives voting in favor of the landing day reduction and Massachusetts voting against it. Under its emergency rules, Maine had already cut its landing days down to two in an attempt to prolong the availability of fresh herring throughout the lobster season, but boats that fished that area could still land for five days if they sailed to a Massachusetts port such as Gloucester. “Without constraints on the landing (in Massachusetts) we would not make it into August, much less September,” said Terry Stockwell of Maine Department of Marine Resources. Meanwhile, Maine lobstermen are struggling. “The bait freezers are empty,” Stockwell said. And the bait that is available is expensive. Read the story here 09:11