Thanks to your actions, we celebrated two major victories for the health of the Atlantic Ocean this month.
Both the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) voted to comprehensively reform industrial fishing off the East coast, including 100 percent at-sea monitoring on midwater trawlers and the first ever federal protections for river herring and shad. Prior to these votes, there had been no protections for river herring, fish that are critically important to the overall health of the ocean’s ecosystem.
More than 65,000 Care2 members signed petitions supporting this crucial reform. Your actions not only helped secure the first meaningful protections for these fish, they also prevented the killing of millions of pounds of unintended catch every year, including depleted fish such as bluefin tuna, river herring, and shad, as well as dolphins and seabirds.
Peter Baker, director of northeast fisheries programs for the Pew Environment Group, said “This is great news for our marine ecosystem and a major victory for the coastal communities on the Atlantic seaboard. [Both] councils have taken strong stands to follow common-sense management measures to prevent bycatch and keep our ocean ecosystems healthy.”
River herring and shad populations are at historic lows and have declined coastwide by 99 and 97 percent, respectively. River herring and shad play an immensely important role in the health of our coastal ecosystems. As food for larger fish, they help sustain commercial and recreational fisheries on the East Coast and contribute to the economies of many coastal river towns. Now, they are in critical condition because their populations have declined by more than 97 percent, mostly by industrial trawlers targeting Atlantic mackerel.
These comprehensive reforms will help protect this population and promote a healthy ecosystem. This is a huge success for river herring and shad populations, and for the overall protection of the Atlantic Ocean. This incredible victory would not have been possible without your support!