Atlantic Herring Landing Restricted

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DURHAM, N.H. — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department’s Marine Fisheries Division today announced that effective May 1, 2008, commercial fishermen will not be allowed to land Atlantic herring taken from Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Management Area 1A (located in the western half of the Gulf of Maine) from May 1-31. The May closure will be followed by a period of restricted days — beginning June 1, 2008, commercial fishermen will be prohibited from landing Atlantic herring taken from Management Area 1A on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.  The restriction applies from 12:01 a.m. on Thursdays to midnight on Sundays. The restriction will remain in effect until December 31, 2008, or until further amended. Similar restrictions were in effect in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The closure is in accordance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Herring Management Plan. One of the provisions of the plan addresses the need to control “effort” (fishing days) in the fishery to prevent commercial fishermen from exceeding the total allowable catch for each management area and to prevent management areas from having to be closed early.

“Management Area 1A is of particular concern because in recent years the total allowable catch has been harvested before peak market demands abate in the autumn,” said Doug Grout, Acting Chief of Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division.  “This year the total allowable catch was reduced by another 5,000 metric tons, so additional harvest restrictions were needed to prevent the quota from being harvested before the fall.”

An exception to the rule is that any vessel may land herring taken as an incidental catch in ASMFC Management Area 1A, up to a maximum of 2,000 pounds.

For more information about the closure, call N.H. Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division at the Department’s Region 3 office in Durham at (603) 868-1095.

The N.H. Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state’s fish, wildlife and marine resources and their habitats.