Get Email Updates

Reduction in Catch Limits for Atlantic Herring Management Areas

Contact:
Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
August 21, 2018

Vessels with Federal Atlantic Herring Permits

Effective Date: August 22, 2018

We are reducing the sub-annual catch limits (ACL) for the four Atlantic Herring Management Areas for the rest of 2018 based on an updated stock assessment and a recommendation from the New England Fishery Management Council.

We agreed with the Council’s recommendation to reduce 2018 catch but determined that further reductions are necessary to lessen the risk of overfishing in 2018. Therefore, we are further reducing the Area 1A and Area 3 sub-ACLs by a total of 3,775 mt, resulting in sub-ACLs for the four management areas totaling 49,900 mt. We expect this reduction to reduce the probability of overfishing in 2018, increase the estimated herring biomass in 2019-2021, and provide for more catch for the fishery.

Management Areas would close when 92 percent of the sub-ACL is projected to be harvested. The revised 2018 sub-ACLs (in mt) are as follows:

 

2018 Original Limits

 

2018 Council Recommendation

NEW AREA SUB-ACLs

Area 1A Sub-ACL

31,789*

28,682*

27,743

Area 1B Sub-ACL

3,552

2,639

2,639

Area 2 Sub-ACL

31,137

8,200

8,200

Area 3 Sub-ACL

43,763

14,134

11,318

Total of Sub-ACLs

110,536**

53,655

49,900

* If New Brunswick weir fishery catch through October 1 is less than 4,000 mt, then 1,000 mt will be added to the ACL and Area 1A Sub-ACL.

**Total of the sum of the area sub-ACLs. Note that this is different from the stockwide ACL (100,969 mt) which is not increased by carrying over underages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is NOAA Fisheries taking this action?

 The 2018 stock assessment concluded that the Atlantic herring stock is in decline due to poor recruitment into the population and projected that large cuts in the 2019-2021 ACL would be necessary to prevent overfishing. In order to lessen these future catch reductions, the Council recommended we cap the 2018 Atlantic herring harvest.

Why did NOAA reduce the sub-ACLs below the New England Council’s recommendations?

The Council’s recommendation was intended to mitigate the impacts of estimated 2019 reductions on the herring industry. NOAA Fisheries agrees with the Council’s intent to reduce these impacts but felt that further reductions were necessary to lessen the risk of overfishing in 2018. The stock assessment projected that the Council’s recommended level of catch was likely to result in overfishing for 2018, so we chose to reduce the Council’s recommended catch so that we would meet the 50-percent probability of overfishing target that was used in previous specifications for setting the overfishing limit (OFL). We reduced the sub-ACLs from the Council recommendation by a total of 3,775 mt, which results in sub-ACLs for the four management areas totaling 49,900 mt. Based on the 2018 stock assessment projection, we expect this reduction to reduce the probability of overfishing in 2018, increase the estimated herring biomass in 2019-2021, and provide for more catch for the fishery.

Why did NOAA Fisheries distribute the reductions the way they did?

We subtracted the additional 3,775 mt from the Council’s proposed sub-ACLs for Area 3 (14,134 mt to 11,318 mt) and Area 1A (28,862 mt to 27,743 mt). Area 3 catch has dropped in recent years and there has been minimal catch there in 2018. We project it to be the least likely sub-ACL to be captured. Focusing part of the additional reduction on Area 3 would allow the midwater trawl fleet with an opportunity to access available catch in Area 1B that may help mitigate the loss of potential catch from Area 3. Avoiding an additional reduction to Area 2 catch would help avoid an early closure of the directed fishery in Area 2 that could result from setting the new limit too close to current catch amounts. Reducing Area 1A quota will spread the reductions among the herring gear types rather than having impacts predominately on midwater trawl vessels.

For more information, please visit the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region herring webpage or contact Dan Luers at Daniel.luers@noaa.gov; 978-282-8457.