09/27/2010 - Herring are no longer a major food fish in New England, and the few dozen boats in the region that still catch the fish -- commonly known as sardines -- sell them primarily as lobster bait.
But the small, silvery fish that swim in huge schools are at the center of a fierce controversy. On Tuesday, the New England Fishery Management Council is scheduled to start forming a new management plan for the fishery. The effort has pitted the fleet of mid-water trawlers that catch herring against environmental groups, commercial groundfishermen and recreational anglers.
"We don't have a problem with the herring fishery. Our problem is with the gear they are using, the industrial-scale fishing, night and day, and its implications for the other fish they catch," said Peter Baker, director of the Herring Alliance, a coalition founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Read the full article Controversy Swirls Around Herring Catch on The Portland Press Herald's Web site.