Coordinated sea herring sampling efforts by the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts indicate that sea herring in the Massachusetts/New Hampshire (MA/NH) Sea Herring Spawning Area are in the later stages of maturity and about to begin spawning.
According to a press release, to protect spawning sea herring from harvest, the MA/NH Sea Herring Spawning Area will be closed from Sunday, Oct. 1, through Saturday, Oct. 28. See bit.ly/closurenotice for more details.
The MA/NH closure area encompasses all waters north of Cape Cod bounded by 43°30’ north latitude to the North and 70°00’ west longitude to the East. This closure may be extended for an additional 14-day period if sea herring samples during the last week of the closure indicate that catch from this area is comprised of 25 percent or more of herring in spawning condition.
During the spawning closure, vessels in the directed Atlantic herring fishery cannot take, possess, or land Atlantic sea herring from the MA/NH spawning area. However, there is an exemption for the incidental catch of sea herring, whereby vessels may land up to 2,000 pounds of sea herring taken from the MA/NH spawning area, provided the vessel does not land more than once per day. Vessels may transit this area in possession of more than 2,000 pounds of sea herring provided the fish was caught outside of the MA/NH spawning area, fishing activity is not occurring, and all gear is stowed.
For more information regarding the management of Atlantic sea herring in Massachusetts, visit mass.gov/marinefisheries.