NE council: Robust discussion on localized herring depletion; GB/GOM haddock catch cap AM tweaked

PORTSMOUTH, NH – At its Jan. 26-28, 2016 meeting here, the New England Fishery Management Council reviewed a slew of issues from the Atlantic herring committee.

Topping the list was approval of a new way to evaluate multiple and conflicting objectives during the development of Amendment 8 (AMD 8) to the Atlantic herring fishery management plan.

Initiated in 2015, AMD 8 would set a new acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rule to include Atlantic herrings’ role as a forage fish.

Currently, the ABC is set based on annual catch with a 50% probability the ABC will exceed fishing mortality at the maximum sustainable yield (FMSY) three years out.  For 2016, the ABC is 110,000 mt.

It will be four or five years before there is a true model of predator-prey analysis that accounts for herring forage mortality, according to the Science and Statistical Committee (SSC).  Instead, they recommended using a management strategy evaluation (MSE) that could approximate natural mortality and recruitment in determining an ABC.

MSE is a collaborative, decision-making process that can aid in developing alternatives, particularly where there are multiple and conflicting interactions between objectives.

Although it requires greater up-front technical analysis, it would also be helpful in evaluating an impact analysis, said Interim Herring Plan Development Team (PDT) chair Rachel Feeney…

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