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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Anglers seek trawler buffer zone as Atlantic herring stock declines

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Monday, March 18, 2024   

Recreational fishermen in New England say commercial trawlers are threatening the survival of smaller businesses relying on a healthy stock of Atlantic herring.

The small forage fish is vital to both the marine food chain and the region's economy.

Rich Hittinger, first vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, said years of overfishing depleted the population and continue to have negative effects on the ocean ecosystem.

"The predator fish, like the striped bass, they're scrounging for anything that they can eat," Hittinger observed. "And we often see fish that are long and thin because they're really not getting sufficient nutrition."

Hittinger noted anglers want the New England Fishery Management Council to reestablish a 12-mile offshore buffer zone to force large commercial trawlers out to sea and reduce conflicts with businesses closer to shore. The council is accepting public comments through April.

For more than a decade, New England anglers worked to amend the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan to protect inshore areas from the effects of industrial trawling, which can ensnare massive amounts of marine life in football field-size nets. But a previous buffer zone was vacated in 2022 after a court determined the depletion of Atlantic herring could not be scientifically proven.

Jaclyn Higgins, forage fish program manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said just 20% of a healthy Atlantic herring stock remains.

"We're hoping that we can really pinpoint what kind of spatial and temporal restrictions need to be put in place," Higgins explained. "So that we can come to a better compromise with managing the fishery."

Higgins pointed out charter businesses, bait and tackle shops, marinas, even whale-watching operators are all dependent on Atlantic herring. She added it is important their voices be heard as regulators consider new ways to manage the population and ensure all entities have access to this small but significant fish.

Disclosure: The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership contributes to our fund for reporting on Climate Change/Air Quality, Endangered Species and Wildlife, Environment, and Public Lands/Wilderness. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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