Every year river herring and shad, originating from the freshwater rivers and streams of Connecticut and eastern seaboard states, join migrating Atlantic herring and mackerel off the Atlantic coast. These fish attract larger predators such as striped bass, bluefish, tuna, and sea birds, as well as dolphins and whales. Take action!
But large industrial fishing trawlers using massive nets to catch large schools of Atlantic herring and mackerel accidentally catch other species too, including river herring and shad–species that have reached depleted population levels in Long Island Sound and along the East Coast. The true extent of their decimation is unknown because the vast majority of the fishing trawler trips are not observed by independent monitors. Much-needed scientific data is lacking.
In 2012, regional fisheries managers approved plans that would fix this problem by requiring trawler owners to help pay for an independent federal observer on every trawl trip. This would help ensure that rules are followed, all catch is accurately reported, and that incidental catch of river herring and shad is minimized. However, the implementation of the plan has been needlessly stalled for several years–its time to put it into action.
Please urge federal fishery managers to hold industrial fishing vessels accountable by requiring an independent observer on every midwater trawl trip. Thank you.