The New England Fishery Management Council is ready to send an amended herring management rule to the public for input.
In September, the council advanced the first major part of Draft Amendment 8, which would change the way the fish is managed. Part one has ten different options for setting and managing long-term catch limits.
Herring analyst Deirdre Boelke says part two, approved for advancement on Tuesday, attempts to address a debated concept known as “localized depletion.”
“Which is removals of herring from certain areas in a concentrated fashion and user conflicts between the herring fishery and other users of herring, like the tuna fisheries, the whale watching communities, and so forth,” she says.
The amendment outlines nine major alternatives, plus multiple sub-options, for addressing concerns over localized depletion, including an option to do nothing.
Boelke says regulators often identify their “preferred” option when proposing major new management rules — they declined to do that in this case.
The draft rule will be finalized and published in the Federal Register over the coming weeks, with public hearings planned for the spring.
Final action on the new herring management plan is set for the council’s meeting on June 12 in Portland.