Fishermen Looking for Changes in Herring Trawling in Local Waters

herring-1CHATHAM – Cape Cod fishermen are looking for regulators to address the impacts of industrial midwater trawling in the region.

The New England Fishery Management Council recently voted to analyze possible “buffer zones” to limit where trawlers can fish to help manage the herring fishery.

Current regulations protect waters up to 40 miles offshore from Canada through Cape Cod Bay for about 10 months out of the year, according to local fisherman Pete Kaizer, from the fishing vessel Althea.

Kaizer said there are only 3 miles of protection in the waters from Provincetown to south of the Islands.

The management council is looking for ways to address “localized depletion” in the herring fishery, which is a key source of bait and food.

Kaizer said the pair trawlers, which are two large vessels connected by a dragging net, travel at speeds of around 7 knots with thin mesh nets that catch everything in their path.

“What they’ve done in the last seven or eight years is they have depleted this whole flow of forage food coming down this coast and therefore we have seen a decline, and the localized depletion, of predators,” Kaizer said.

Kaizer said local fishermen want to see “buffer zones” along the backside of the Cape and past the Islands extend to at least 25 miles, but are hoping for 50 miles.

“What we are looking for basically is fair and equitable protection for the near coastal ecosystem, for the near coastal biomasses of fish, not only the herring but also all of the predator fish the forage food,” Kaizer said.

The council’s herring committee will meet throughout the fall.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

Material from the Associated Press was used in this article

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