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As Demand for Herring Soars, Catch Declines in Maine

Mar 12, 2017

Associated Press: Last year, herring were also difficult to catch far offshore, where they are typically caught in large amounts, but they were abundant closer to the New England coast. This led to a bait shortage, because fishermen are only allowed to catch a certain percentage of their quotas in inshore waters.

It also fueled speculation that warming waters are preventing herring, which like the cold, from going farther out to sea, where it is warmer. Graham Sherwood, a research scientist with the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, said it’s tough to say whether warming waters are actually keeping herring close to shore in the near term.

But long term, the much-documented warming off New England is bad for the fish, he said.

“They are a cold water species. Ten, 20, 30, 50 years, it may no longer be hospitable to herring,” Sherwood said.