CHOIR: Coalition for the Atlantic Herring Fishery's Orderly, Informed, and Responsible Long-Term Development


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NMFS announces problems with landings reporting in herring fishery

September 16, 2007


As discussed in the “Monitoring Mishap” story a few weeks back, NMFS has been having troubles with properly monitoring landings in the herring fishery off New England. While most had a strong belief about what was to blame, NMFS had kept quiet on exactly what was happening. Until recently.

The agency posted the following comment on their IVR Landings page after posting the weekly IVR landing update for the herring fishery:

“This report is based on incomplete data because a substantial number of herring vessels have not reported their catch in an accurate and timely manner, as required, through the IVR system. Failure to submit reports, including the requirement to submit a negative report for any week when no catch was made, may result in the matter being referred to the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement for investigation. If violations are established, violators can expect significant civil penalties and permit sanctions to follow.”

Keep in mind that the system in place currently in the herring fishery to monitor landings is inadequate to begin with. The system is based solely on estimations of catches made by the captains of herring vessels by observing their fish holds. This estimation is then called in weekly by the captains, and that number is what is used by NMFS as the official landings numbers. So you have a weak system that is now, according to NMFS, not being adhered to.

For years, CHOIR and many others have had concerns with reporting/monitoring in the herring fishery, and these latest issues confirm that everyones concerns are real.

It is time for managers to put in place a weighmaster system that will allow for accurate monitoring of landings.

Click here to read about the problems that began last month with herring reporting

Click Here to go to the NMFS IVR webpage

Once there, click on “Atlantic Herring” on the lefthand side of the page.

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