Smell Fish? Island Herring Runs Come Alive But Worries Persist

Herring have arrived in Vineyard waters, and this is particularly good news for a fish in trouble. Years ago local fishermen used to count the herring by the barrel; today they are counted only by the handful.

This is the fourth spring Massachusetts anglers have been prohibited from catching these fish. The state moratorium is a hardline effort to protect the fish from further decline. An initial three-year moratorium was renewed; it is to last another two years.

Vineyard Fishermen Challenge Absent Herring Rules in Court

Vineyard fishermen have joined a federal lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission over the lack of management of river herring and shad in federal waters. The lawsuit targets offshore industrial large-scale fishing boats working the Gulf of Maine and waters south of the Vineyard as culprits in the sharp decline of the fish.

Government Challenged In River Herring Decline

Commercial and recreational fishermen are challenging two government agencies for failing to protect river herring and shad from being caught and killed by Atlantic industrial fisheries.

Mackerel Are Jumping, Herring Too

Last spring, when a local angler wanted to catch Atlantic mackerel in Vineyard waters he had to get in a boat and motor more than a mile off Gay Head. This week there is no need for the boat. For the first time in many years anglers are jigging for mackerel off Memorial Wharf in Edgartown and they are getting quite a few; some have caught enough for a holiday dinner. Plus, they are catching plenty of Atlantic herring.

The Herring Are Coming! Spring Bait Fishery Rebounds

Herring are back and the numbers are stronger compared with a year ago. Also known as alewives, herring are one of the true coastal signs of spring and considered essential bait fish in the food chain.

While the reports of numbers this spring are improved over last year, they are at best cautiously optimistic. A state moratorium prohibiting the catching of herring has been in place since 2005. The ban was a response to a dramatic drop in the numbers of fish returning in the spring of 2004 and before. Recovery has been slow, if at all, until this spring.

Herring Highlight New Fishing Season

The fish are here — in force.

Striped bass, alewives (also known as herring), black sea bass and squid have arrived for an early start to the fishing season. Striped bass have been seen and caught in hot pursuit of herring swimming into local coastal ponds.

Bass, Herring Are Food For Commission Thought at Marine Fisheries Meeting

In an uncommon gesture toward Island fishermen, the state Marine Fisheries Commission brought its monthly business meeting to the Katharine Cornell Theatre in Vineyard Haven yesterday afternoon. Beneath the large Stanley Murphy mural paintings of fishing life on the Vineyard, the commission tackled topics that affect the lives of local and state commercial fishermen, such as extending the striped bass fishing season and attempts to resuscitate the ailing herring population.

Fisheries Council Orders Monitoring for Herring

In an effort to cut down on the accidental harvesting of river herring and other fish, local fishing authorities ruled this week that all fishing boats targeting Atlantic herring must have impartial observers onboard and will be required to file more detailed reports of their activities. The program will take effect beginning next year.

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