PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine)-- In order to replenish the Atlantic Herring population following some of the lowest numbers seen in years, the New England Fisheries Management Council has moved to impose a drastic cap on the amount of Herring that can be hauled in 2019-2021.
Most of the Herring caught is used as bait for lobsters. The state quota was already halved this year from 110,000 metric tons in 2017, to 50,000 metric tons. Regulators want to cut it down to less than 15,000 metric tons in 2019. As Herring bait becomes scarce, buying it becomes more and more expensive. Many in the industry are concerned there will be lobstering men and women who simply won't be able to afford to continue in the business.
According to the Portland Press Herald, the commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources was unable to talk the NEFMC to allow more Herring to be hauled at the start of the 2019 Herring fishing season.