New England Fishery Management Council to Host Herring Trawler Forum


CHATHAM – Members of the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance will meet with federal fisheries managers later this month to discuss the impact of big mid-water trawls working of the Cape’s coast.

After decades of lamenting the trawlers’ effect on local fishing, the fishermen will be able to testify in front of managers about how the local ecosystem has suffered from the prolonged presence of the industrial-scaled boats.

They will be advocating for a buffer zone off the coast that not only protects ocean herring, but also river herring and other forage fish that are caught and discarded as bycatch.

Public officials from every Cape town, Barnstable County, and the region’s State House delegation all support a year-round buffer, as do many environmental, scientific and civic organizations.

“Of all the issues facing us as a fishing community, protecting herring and forage fish might be the most important step we could take to rebuild our fishery and revitalize our waters,” said John Pappalardo, CEO of the Fishermen’s Alliance.

“A strong call to action would be an important message for federal managers to hear.”

The New England Fishery Management Council has scheduled hearings at the Chatham Community Center, only a few miles from several herring runs that have seen populations decline.

Fishermen with the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance first started speaking out against midwater trawling near shore more than a decade ago, and have been joined by a growing coalition in recent years.

The public hearing will be June 19, at the Chatham Community Center from 6 to 8 p.m. Public testimony is welcome.
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