To the editor:
Almost 50 percent of mid-water herring vessels are no longer in the fishery.
All of them are only part-time fishing businesses, as a large percentage of the fishing grounds have been closed to them for most of the year.
Current herring quotas reflect a 40 percent reduction implemented in 2010 to protect the herring from some stock assessment issues that lead managers to believe they may have overestimated the amount of fish available. Loss of jobs, businesses, and income for herring fishermen have been the result of all of these protective measures.
Management has done the most responsible job they can, herring fishermen have sucked it up and tried to do their best to survive as a leaner more efficient industry without whining for public money. In light of these facts I am left with one question.
Why are the tuna and recreational fishermen and their allies at the Pew Environmental Group and the Conservation Law Foundation still constantly bashing and attacking the herring boats?
All of their accusations have been shown to be false by a mountain of strong evidence.
They have claimed mid-water boats kill massive numbers of groundfish. That's a claim supported by some very cleverly cut video footage done by a vessel now known to have been targeting groundfish — and it's an idea shown to be false by the national bycatch report.
They have additionally claimed that mid-water boats kill large numbers of marine mammals, tuna, whales, striped bass, and river herring — all of which have been shown as false by a mountain of observer data that was collected at enormous taxpayer expense.
None of these facts appear to bother these constant accusers at all. Now they claim mid-water vessels catch too much herring, but there are more herring than ever — and, with the quota cuts in effect, it is the most protected stock in all of New England.
The sad fact is there will be no end to this prejudiced campaign against mid-water herring fishermen. It is a campaign based on lies and greed.
The price of a tuna is based on its fat content, so apparently all of the herring fishermen must lose their jobs and all of their poor customers access to affordable protein so that some tuna sport fishermen can make more money selling the most expensive fish to the richest people on the planet.
They don't care how many people lose their jobs, factories close, poor people starve, or even if the lobsters die off from a strange disease introduced by bait brought in from far away places, as long as they make more money selling fish that, unlike herring, aren't being managed in a sustainable fashion.
The herring campaign has cost the herring fishermen and the U.S. taxpayer huge amounts of money.
I think we all deserve better than this.
JON J. JOHNSON