Cape and Islands Lawmakers Join Fight to Protect Offshore Herring


CHATHAM – The Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance is receiving support from the Cape and Islands legislative delegation in protecting offshore herring for local fishermen.

Earlier this month, the lawmakers called on the New England Fishery Management Council to create a buffer zone off the coast of the Cape and Islands from large-scale mid-water herring trawlers.

Current regualtions allow the trawlers to fish three miles offshore from Provincetown past the Islands.

“The delegation has taken up a position that we staked out at the Fishermen’s Alliance years ago that we need a buffer zone,” said John Pappalardo, the alliance CEO.

“In other words, a zone off the Cape and Islands where these vessels cannot come in and intensively harvest sea herring.”

The alliance would like a 50 mile buffer zone.

A similar zone was created about a decade ago for the Gulf of Maine to protect herring from the Canadian Border through Cape Cod Bay.

Herring are a source of food for whales and other marine species and are an important bait for other fisheries, including lobster.

Pappalardo said having the delegation’s support is important.

“It really helps the council understand that is not one group versus another,” Pappalardo said.

“Rather, it is an entire set of communities that have deep concerns about fisheries management and are seeking some sort of change that recognizes the concerns that they have.”

Pappalardo said the Gulf of Maine buffer zone was created to prevent overfishing to cause a negative impact to the local commercial and recreational fishing fleet and ecotourism industry, including whale watches.

“Where herring go, so go everything else,” he said.

Regulators for the New England Council are expected to send out a letter for public comment next week, which could include the buffer zone.

After gathering input, the Council will take a final vote in the late spring.

Pappalardo believes there will be a positive result.

“I think that the case that has been made and the concerns that have been expressed are being heard,” he said.

Pappalardo expects debate on how much of an area will be off limits and if it would be year round.


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