Inter-Jurisdictional and Multi-Scale Challenges of River Herring Management and Bycatch Reduction
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The alewife and the blueback herring, collectively known as river herring, were once abundant along most of the Atlantic coast of the United States but have declined significantly throughout their range. River herring populations have been impacted by multiple factors including direct harvest, reduced habitat quantity and quality, predation, and incidental catch at sea. Management and conservation of river herring has been particularly difficult due to their unique life history, as they migrate long distances at sea and return to freshwater river systems each spring to reproduce. In the course of their migrations alewives and blueback herring cross through several management jurisdictions and face many threats at varying spatial scales in a variety of different habitat types. In response to population declines, fishing effort in state waters has been severely restricted, but river herring bycatch in at-sea fisheries remains a largely undocumented but presumably significant and unmanaged source of mortality. This project is an assessment of the challenges of inter-jurisdictional, multi-scale management of river herring, with a focus on the problem of river herring bycatch as an inter-jurisdictional fisheries management issue. This report additionally provides recommendations toward a coordinated strategy for the ongoing development of river herring bycatch mitigation measures.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
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