View Full Version : Results of Today's Herring Meeting!!!!!!

11-07-2007, 06:04 PM
Great news!

At today's Council meeting in Newport the NEFMC voted by a very narrow margin (9-8) to MAKE HERRING A PRIORITY in 2008!!!

A lot of work went into this and it payed off. The Council received roughly 10,000 comments supporting making herring a priority. From what we were told, that is almost twice as many comments that they have EVER received on any issue, ever! We also had our strongest showing yet on the CHOIR Sign-On Letter (which I will attach to this post), with over 150 supporting groups, businesses and others.

The Executive Committee, which makes the preliminary list of management priorities, had put herring on the list. The issue then went to the Council for discussion.

Despite close to 10,000 comments and a very strong showing of support from MA groups, businesses and citizens, THE STATE OF MA (VIA DR. DAVID PIERCE) TRIED VERY HARD TO STOP HERRING FROM MAKING THE LIST. I capitalize this because it is impossible to understand how on earth MA would have done this in the face of so much concern and public comment.

From the outset of the discussion, David Pierce argued very strongly against making herring a priority. He went on and on and came very close to killing us on this issue. He literally spoke out against herring being on the list for 10-15 minutes.

But it was not just the state of MA...the state directors (or their proxies) from both Maine and New Hampshire voted to stop herring from making the list. All in all, the three states (MA, NH, and ME) let a lot of people down today. But MA was clearly leading the way on trying to crush our efforts to address problems with how herring are managed.

Also voting against us were: Jim Odlin (thats a shocker), Jim Salisbury, Dana Rice, Dave Goethel and Rodney Avila. Of these, Odlin and Salisbury were the most outspoken against putting herring on the list. It is hard to understand how Odlin would even be allowed to vote on this issue given his substantial, direct involvement in the herring fishery (he is the one who brought the American Freedom in last year, along with a handful of large MW boats).

Members of the Council (Odlin and others), along with the MW lobby, mocked the pubic comments. They made clear that they do not care what people want and that they just want to have it their way. One of them even referred to the comments as "spam". They looked very foolish and showed their true colors once again.

(Goethel has always supported our herring efforts but he desperatly wanted to see whiting make the priority list since he has a lot of landings history and would benefit from putting a limited access system in the whiting fishery. No excuse, IMO, for voting against such an important issue like herring. Plus, NMFS, the Council Chair and the Council's Executive Director all made clear that they dont have the data to even work on whiting, making it pointless for Goethel to do what he did.)

**Voting in favor of herring were: Mike Leary, Frank Blount, Tom Hill, Mark Gibson (RI), Dave Simpson (CT), Sally Mcgee, Rip Cunningham, Dave Preble and Pat Kurkul (NMFS). These 9 members should all be applauded for doing the right thing and making herring a priority.

All in all, BIG WIN TODAY. This will allow us to work towards getting important changes in the herring fishery. Had they not voted for herring today, it would have been 3 years before we would even had a chance to see changes in the herring fishery.

Thanks for all those who spoke out and helped with this effort. I told you that if we all worked together we could make this happen. This fight is just getting started, though, and so stay tuned.

Want to reiterate though how disappointed we all were with MA, ME, and NH...with emphasis on MA for what David Pierce tried to do. I would expect a lot better from the 3 states. I am going to be letting ME know how I feel, I would urge those of you from ME, NH and MA to let your state directors know that you are disappointed with them as well.

north coast
11-07-2007, 06:23 PM
awesome! congrats on a very important win.
thanks for keeping us up to date on this stuff twofin. I for one ,appreciate all you do to keep this stuff current and out there.

Now, do you know if we'll ever get a chance to vote this David Pierce character on to something he's maybe a little more competent at? He obviously doesn't know (or care) a heck of a lot about how fisheries ecosystems work.

11-10-2007, 10:09 AM
Congrats Twofin, thats good news. Thanks for all the hard work. Glad all the hard work paid off for you, keep it up! thanks for the sample letters, glad I was able to help even a tiny way!


11-10-2007, 11:51 AM
Thanks for all your hard work! I'm from Portland, and I'd like to voice my displeasure about Maine's lack of support for effective herring management to the appropriate person from the State of Maine. Who should I contact?


11-10-2007, 03:35 PM
Hey, give Baldacci's office a shout. Baldacci is the boss of th Maine DMR guys, so go to him. Shoot me a PM if you want contact info or anything else.

11-10-2007, 04:48 PM

what exactly does "making herring a priority" mean in a practical sense? will they implement new regs, just look closer at the fishery to see if new regs are needed, a combination of the two or something else?

Not trying to downplay this important win and all your hard work, just trying to get educated.


I still cant belive someone with a present interest in MW boats has a vote on this issue. How is that possible? Thats one of the clearest cases of a conflict in interest Ive ever seen.

11-10-2007, 06:42 PM

Good question.

Before each year, the Council comes together to set priorities. It will pick 5-6 issues to address in the coming year. For example, groundfish will be one, scallops will be another, and so on. If they do not put an issue/species on the list, that issue/species will not be addressed in the coming year. In other words, if herring is not on the list, there will be not even be a discussion of herring management in the coming year.

Within the last year, it was becoming clear that there would be a push by some opn the Council to NOT address herring in 2008. Many of us feel that herring needs to be addressed and so pushing herring off another year would have been a problem.

We had to fight very hard to get the Council to put herring on the list. I think if you had asked people 6 months ago, they would have said herring had no way of being on the list.

Luckily, we got it on the list. This is a big step but is not a guarantee of anything. This basically OK's the discussion to occur. Now what happens is we will fight for certain changes to the herring management plan. Similar to what happened a few years back with the 1A buffer zone (Amendment 1).

We will hopefully see a better system in place to ensure accountability- in regards to observers and landings. A lot of people would like to see the Buffer Zones cover the backside of Cape Cod, as well. We will need to fight to get these types of changes into the proposed plan. There will be a long process in which the council makes a plan, does public comment periods, then edits the plan, and so on.

What this essentially means is the Council is going to open the discussion regarding herring management and that will allow us to hopefully get changes in place. The Council said it thinks an amendment is needed and that it could take between 1.5 and 2 years.

So, getting herring on the list was only the first part of this whole effort. While it is a huge first step, we have plenty of work ahead of us. But had they not put herring on the list, we would have been waiting another year to get back to even having a possibility of discussing issue in the herring fishery. So, getting it on the list was a critical step.

Pretty much everyone agrees that changes are needed...what those changes will look like will be what is discussed in the coming year. There will be chances for public comment and we will all need to stay on top of this issue if we want the changes to do what we feel needs to be done.

Irish Wake-JW
11-13-2007, 02:18 PM

Why were the State reps fighting so hard to keep herring off the priority list? What influences their positions?



11-13-2007, 04:43 PM
Its really hard to say, things are still kind of unfolding and so its going to be some time before we have a good idea specifically. But in general, and especially in MA, the midwater fleet represents a lot of invested money (some of it state money) and so they kind of bow down to those guys. With NH, I think it came down to them not wanting to take stand on this, and partly because they wanted whiting to get on the list.

The one that makes the least sense is Maine. The Maine fleet is mostly a purse seine fleet (and in fact, this summer the only 3 Maine MW boats had rigged over to seine, making the entire Maine fleet a purse seine fleet) and so would benefit from the changes we want. Not only that, but what we are asking for would go a long way towards ensuring a steady supply of lobster bait. While I know that in some ways Maine wanted to address whiting, I think that they used that (like NH) as a cop out.

I think in the end, the states chickened out. They are afraid of the MW boats, for some reason (MA the most). They apparently want to manage the herring resource for the benefit of a handful of big companies and wealthy foreign investors than to do what is right for the overwhelming majority of their constituents.

Anyone from Maine, MA or NH should be seriously concerned about the way their directors voted. I am very disappointed with my state, the changes we want would help Maine in many ways and I think whatever they did they did for the wrong reasons. MA is a complete disappointment. So is NH.