CONTACT:
Doug Grout : (603) 868-1095
Jane Vachon: (603) 271-3211
January 7, 2009

Atlantic Herring Fishery to Close January 10 - May 31, 2009;
Public Hearing on Atlantic Herring Management Plan on Jan. 21, Portsmouth, NH

DURHAM, N.H. -- Commercial fishermen will not be allowed to land Atlantic herring taken from Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Management Area 1A (located in the western half of the Gulf of Maine) from January 10 through May 31, 2009, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department Marine Fisheries Division officials announced today.  Landing restrictions for Atlantic herring for the period June 1 through December 31, 2009, will be established later, following a meeting of the ASMFC Atlantic Herring Section.

The landing restriction is in accordance with the ASMFC Atlantic Herring Management Plan, which addresses the need to control "effort" (fishing days) in the fishery to prevent harvesters from exceeding the Total Allowable Catch for each management area, which can trigger early closure. Management Area 1A is of particular concern because in recent years the Total Allowable Catch has been harvested before peak market demands abate in the autumn. States involved in the herring fishery are allowed to extend the fishery by controlling fishing effort through landing restrictions. The goal is to provide a consistent supply of herring to the market by controlling landings, particularly early in the season when herring may be localized in Area 1A.

An exception to the rule is that any vessel may land herring taken as an incidental catch in ASMFC Management Area 1A, up to a maximum of 2,000 pounds. 

For more information about the closure, call N.H. Fish and Game's Marine Fisheries Division, located in Fish and Game's Region 3 Office in Durham, at (603) 868-1095. 

In related news, ASMFC's Atlantic Herring Section has approved Draft Addendum I to Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Sea Herring for public comment.  The Draft Addendum proposes new measures to manage effort in the inshore Gulf of Maine (Area 1A), while also allowing for a steady supply of herring throughout the fishing season.

New Hampshire Fish and Game will hold a hearing on the Draft Addendum on Wednesday, January 21, 2009, at 7:00 p.m. at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  For more information, contact Doug Grout at 603-868-1095. (Directions to the Urban Forestry Center from the Portsmouth Traffic Circle: South on Route 1 to Intersection with Elwyn Road, near site of former Yokens Restaurant; go east on Elwyn Road approximately 1/4 mile; entrance is on the left.) 

Draft Addendum I was developed to explore new ways to control harvest, ensure a steady flow of herring throughout the season, and enhance harvesting predictability (by having fewer in-season days-out modifications). Specifically, the Draft Addendum presents options to (1) distribute the Area 1A quota using bimonthly, trimester, or seasonal quotas with payback and overage options; (2) change days-out regulations, including how they are set and how they restrict fishing activity; and (3) modify the frequency of state reporting requirements.  Based on input received from its Technical Committee and Advisory Panel, the Atlantic Herring Section decided to not include options to restrict harvest on juvenile fish in the Draft Addendum because it was determined that the issue needed further analysis and development before being considered as a proposed management measure.

The states of Maine and Massachusetts are also holding hearings on the Draft Addendum (see dates and locations at www.asmfc.org).

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Addendum, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. Copies of the Draft Addendum can be obtained via the ASMFC website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by calling 202-289-6400. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on January 23, 2009, and should be forwarded to Christopher Vonderweidt, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (FAX) 202-289-6051; or email cvonderweidt@asmfc.org (Subject line: Addendum I).

The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department is the guardian of the state's marine, fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.  Visit www.WildNH.com/marine.

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