Protect the Most Important Fish in the Sea!

  • by: Herring Alliance
  • recipient: Patricia Kurkul, Regional Administrator, NOAA Fisheries (Northeast Region); Paul Howard, Executive Director, National Marine Fisheries Service

Atlantic herring just need some respect.

These small fish are essential to the health of our oceans. But large industrial ships known as herring mid-water trawlers are removing more Atlantic herring from New England’s inshore areas than is sustainable.

The ships tow huge fishing nets as wide as a football fields through the ocean, indiscriminately killing everything in their path. They have even caught whales in their nets in the Gulf of Maine and on the Georges Bank. Anything they catch that they don't want is simply discarded, and often killed and destroyed in the process.

The irresponsible fishing practices of these large industrial ships are putting the long-term health of our ocean ecosystems and marine life at risk. The traditional feeding grounds for whales, dolphins, tuna and other marine life are under threat by the growing loss of Atlantic herring along the New England coastline.

Sign this petition to stop special interests from wiping out Atlantic herring and preserve the health of our oceans!

Dear Captain Howard and Regional Administrator Kurkul,

I'm writing today because I am a New England resident and I am extremely concerned about the health of the Gulf of Maine ecosystem and the traditional fisheries and communities it supports. My concern arises from the inadequate management of New England's industrial herring fleet.

The Atlantic herring fishery has serious problems that need to be addressed. Currently, midwater trawlers are operating without proper monitoring and insufficient observer coverage levels. We lack the most basic information on this fishery, taking educated guesses at best about what is caught. Midwater trawl ships also operate near shore, creating substantial gear conflicts and potentially posing a threat to important near shore species such as river herring and striped bass. It�s time for management to do something about this problem and act accordingly.

The fleet of 150+ foot midwater trawl ships currently operating in New England poses a grave threat to the future of New England�s healthy fisheries and the rebuilding of groundfish and whiting stocks. I encourage you to take action immediately to protect our marine ecosystem and our traditional fisheries. Please work together to craft and implement new regulations for this fishery as soon as possible.

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