The New England Fishery Management Council voted September 25 to protect New England herring. The Council elected to implement a 12 mile buffer zone from Maine to New York. This will prevent commercial trawlers from depleting the Cape’s herring stock.
Mary Chaffee, Brewster’s Delegate to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates, introduced a Resolution in the Assembly in November 2017 to express the Assembly’s support for the creation of a Federal buffer zone to prevent commercial trawlers from working close to Cape shores and depleting the herring fishery. The Resolution was adopted and forwarded to the New England Fishery Management Council.
River and ocean herring school together in waters around Cape Cod. Large commercial vessels called mid-water trawlers have been trawling for ocean herring as close as 3 miles from shore but they unintentionally scoop millions of pounds of river herring, leaving those herring dead. When the herring population is depleted near shore, larger fish like cod that depend on herring, move farther offshore to search for food. This disruption causes environmental, economic and recreational fishing consequences.
The buffer will protect the marine ecosystem and inshore fishermen who depend on striped bass, cod and tuna. The rules adopted by the New England Fishery Management Council must be approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service before they take effect.