Thursday, June 21, 2007

Herring get a hearing in New England

A new conservation alliance in New England is airing herring overfishing concerns. And judging from the media attention, people are beginning to listen.

The goal of the herring alliance is to protect this small fish that is “New England’s most important fish” because of the role it plays in the marine food web. Makes sense to me, if there's no fish food, then there's no fish.

Already, some battle lines are being drawn, but the most interesting reaction came from blogger John Sackton over at The Winding Glass.

John worries that the fishing industry is reacting with futile knee-jerk opposition.
Unfortunately, the industry is reponding in the old manner: the TAC should be bigger, the problems are exaggerated. This is going to lead to a showdown that they cannot win....

he continues
...New England has been cursed as the "middle east" of fisheries management, where there has been no peace for 30 years. The herring fight is likely to continue that poor record.

In Alaska, the basis of much of the strong managment has been an industry willing to put up money for science, to pay for observers, to respond to issues, and in general act as a partner interested in solving legitimate scientific issues, knowing that to fight all the time was a recipe for more and more restrictions, but to uphold scientific principles was a recipe for industry longevity.

Well said, John. If only the rest of the industry was as forward looking as John Sackton. I don't agree with everything he says, but at least he's got some sense on.

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