2010-12-16 / About Town

DEM creates new maps due to arrival of herring

According to Department of Environmental Management marine biologists, Atlantic herring have arrived in Rhode Island state waters this December. Commercial fishing for herring has been traditionally pursued by state vessels, however, this fishery is also being targeted opportunistically by mid-water pair trawl vessels from other states, particularly when northern herring management areas are closed once allowable quotas have been harvested.

In an effort to minimize gear conflicts between mobile and fixed gear, DEM has developed and circulated a map of fishing grounds and implemented requirements for mid-water pair trawl vessels to notify DEM’s Division of Law Enforcement when they are fishing in state waters. Additionally, in efforts to monitor river herring by-catch, DEM has implemented a requirement for such vessels to take observers onboard, if requested by DEM’s marine fisheries program. Vessels harvesting Atlantic herring in Rhode Island state waters may not exceed 165 feet in length and 3,000 horsepower. Vessels need to be aware of all licensing requirements as well.

Any vessel that is found to be operating without a proper license, failing to report, refusing to take observers, impacting fixed gear, exceeding the size or horsepower limitations, or conducting reduction operations on Atlantic herring will be subject to enforcement action. Such action may include license suspension or revocation and/or fines.

The map is available on the DEM website, www.dem.ri.gov. For more information, call the DEM at 423-1920.

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