Search for a Scapegoat: Offshore Trawler Bycatch Suspected in Disappearance of Shad

shadMid-Atlantic fisheries regulators are weighing whether to take additional steps to protect American shad and river herring as they migrate along the East Coast, as some new research suggests significant numbers of herring may be accidentally netted by offshore trawlers. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council is scheduled to receive a staff-written white paper this month reviewing whether to move toward imposing tighter limits on the amount of shad and river herring that could be caught by offshore fleets pursuing another species, Atlantic mackerel. The council, which regulates commercial fishing within federal waters from New York to North Carolina, plans to make a decision at its October meeting. “We’ve got industrial-scale fishing vessels targeting mackerel and Atlantic herring in the southern New England area, and we barely have any observer coverage on those vessels,” complains Roger Fleming, a lawyer with Earthjustice. “Some of those vessels can hold up to 1 million pounds of fish. . . . They can virtually wipe out a river herring stock in one tow [of the net].” Read the story here 12:20

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