2019 Herring Catch Limits Set

On February 7, 2019, NMFS released the 2019 Atlantic Herring Catch Limits.  Despite strident appeals from the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, among others, for a less severe cutback and for a redistribution of the area quotas, the agency determined that a 70% reduction in catch was necessary to keep the fishery healthy and stable.  Furthermore, the area quotas were not reallocated which means if Area 1A does not meet its quota, then those fish will not be caught at all. (The total catch could be less than what is allocated.)

From the Federal Register report with MLA annotations:

“In June 2018, a new Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop (SAW) for herring, reviewed by the Stock Assessment Review Committee (SARC), was completed. The assessment concluded that although herring was not overfished and overfishing was not occurring in 2017, poor recruitment (birth rate) would likely result in a substantial decline in herring biomass (overall stock). The stock assessment estimated that recruitment (birth rate) had been at historic lows during the most recent 5 years (2013-2017). The assessment projected that biomass (overall stock) could increase, after reaching a low in 2019, if recruitment (birth rate) returns to average levels, but that herring catch would need to be reduced, starting in 2018, to prevent overfishing and lower the risk of the stock becoming overfished. The final assessment summary report is available on the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) website.”   https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-01658/p-9

What does this cut mean really? In percentages and in pounds?

2019 Herring Quota (Compared to 2018 numbers)
metric tons Metric tons
%
2018 Quota NEFMC 2019 Loss Loss

Area 1A

27,743

4,354

23,389

84%

Area 1B

2,639

647

1,992

75%

Area 2

8,200

4,188

4,012

49%

Area 3

11,318

5,876

5,442

48%

Total 49,900 15,065 34,835 70%
Pounds Pounds %
2018 Quota NEFMC 2019 Loss Loss

Area 1A

61,162,773

9,598,915

51,563,857

84%

Area 1B

5,817,992

1,426,389

4,391,603

75%

Area 2

18,077,884

9,232,949

8,844,935

49%

Area 3

24,951,889

12,954,347

11,997,542

48%

Total 110,010,538 33,212,600

76,797,938

70%

In case you are wondering what the Quota Allocations are: (same as 2018)

Area 1A: 28.9 percent,

○ Area 1B: 4.3 percent,

○ Area 2: 27.8 percent,

○ Area 3: 39 percent;

  • Proportionally reduce the fixed gear set-aside allocation which is based on a small weir fishery west of Cutler, ME; and
  • Set the border transfer (which allows U.S. vessels to transfer herring to Canadian vessels to be processed as food) at 0 mt.

  • https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2019-01658/p-16
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