Council moves forward Amendment 8 to Atlantic Herring FMP 

MYSTIC, CT –The New England Fishery Management Council chose alternatives to move forward for analysis on draft Amendment 8 (A8) to the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan at their its April 18-20 meeting.

The amendment was initiated in 2015 to consider alternative methods of calculating the acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule, and to
address localized depletion and/or user conflicts.

For several years, the New England council has considered adopting an ABC control rule that would take into account herring’s role in the ecosystem.

A prior amendment, A4, has been repeatedly challenged in federal court by Oceana with claims that the council did not adequately take into account herring’s role as a forage fish in deciding how to establish the ABC control rule.

Currently, the ABC is set annually as the catch that is projected to produce a probability of exceeding fishing mortality at the maximum sustainable yield (Fmsy) in the third year that is less than or equal to 50%.  The ABC then determinces the annual catch limit (ACL) by factoring in uncertainties in how MSY is calculated.

Without a predator-prey model available, though, the Science and Statistical Committee recommended using Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) to derive ABC control rules that meet competing and conflicting objectives from stakeholders on yield and stock biomass.

Over the past year, the herring Plan Development Team (PDT) worked with the Ecosystem-based Fishery Management PDT, the Herring Committee, the Herring Advisory Panel and stakeholders to come up with a set …

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