PEW Charitable Trusts

Photo/PEW Charitable Trusts Until last week, many local fishermen thought the herring problem had been solved. After nearly a decade of a hard-fought grassroots campaign to have fishery managers more closely monitor herring — a keystone species in the food chain — there was a plan.

The proposal, developed last year by the New England Fishery Management Council, was to have all Atlantic herring trips by large vessels covered by federal observers who would note what was being caught and what was being thrown back.

But last week, the National Marine Fisheries Service disapproved the 100-percent observer coverage requirement as well as two other measures considered by advocates to be vital to protecting herring stocks.

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