Anadromous Forage Fisheries in Blue Hill Bay: Rainbow Smelt (Recreational) Alewife and Blueback Herring (Commercial and Recreational)

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1 Anadromous Forage Fisheries in Blue Hill Bay: Rainbow Smelt (Recreational) Alewife and Blueback Herring (Commercial and Recreational) Claire Enterline Maine Department of Marine Resources Ellsworth High School, April 23, 2012

2 Anadromous Rainbow Smelt Can live up to 6 years and 10, but more typically 2-3 years and 6 Eat plankton, small shrimp and fish Spring Spawn at head of tide Summer Young of the year in estuaries, adults in coastal waters Fall Open bays, moving towards shore Winter Sheltered bays, large tidal rivers May spawn in the same stream and in different streams within the same year Variation in genetic structure of populations > four distinct regions

3 Pounds landed (thousands) Rainbow Smelt: Fishery Commercial bait fish in early 1900 s, but as landings declined, so has the fishery Commercial harvest of rainbow smelt in ME and NH ME NH Year

4 Rainbow Smelt: Species of Concern Threats to spawning: Obstructions ph (acid rain, land use) Habitat alteration Eutrophication Possible threats to adults: Historical commercial fishery Rising ocean temperature Marine predation Bycatch in the shrimp fishery?

5 Stock Enhancement Currently: MA DMF stocks fertilized eggs from the Fore River (good run) into the Crane River (severely depleted run), Maine DMR will begin stocking North Haven in 2012 Reintroduce RBS in rivers after dam removal/culvert redesign, water quality improvement, etc. Must conduct pathology and genetic studies before stocking

6 Anadromous Smelt in Blue Hill Bay

7 Smelt Fishing Regulations Must have a Pelagic License to harvest and sell Can take by hook and line or dip net Under the ice: no limit, hook and line only March 15 June 30: 2 qrt limit July 1 March 14: no limit

8 River Herring Eat plankton, small shrimp and fish Spawning Bluebacks: mainstem rivers, fast flowing Alewives: slow moving water, lakes, ponds Migrations along eastern seaboard Possibly migrate offshore, north of Cape Hatteras in winter (off NC shore) Move into shore to spawn, then move northward along coast Fish spawned in North Carolina may travel as far north as St. Lawrence River during migrations

9 River Herring: Alewives and Blueback Herring

10 River Herring Landings - East Coast

11 Millions of Pounds State of Maine River Herring Landings Millions of Pounds day closure 3-day closure Year

12 States With a River Herring Moratorium Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut Virginia North Carolina

13 Objectives of Amendment 2 1) Prevent further declines in river herring (alewife and blueback herring) abundance. 2) Improve our understanding of bycatch mortality by collecting and analyzing bycatch data. 3) Increase understanding of river herring fisheries, stock dynamics, and population through fisheries dependent and independent monitoring.

14 The American Shad and River Herring Management Board Approved the Following Management Measure Close all river herring fisheries (commercial and recreational) with exceptions for systems with sustainable fisheries. January 1, 2012: Fisheries that do not have an approved management plan in place, or are not covered by an approved management plan, by January 1, 2012 will be closed. Fisheries open in Blue Hill area: Franklin Gouldsboro Orland Sullivan Steuben Mt. Desert (Conservation Closure)

15 ASMFC Definition of Sustainability for the River Herring Management Plan Systems with a sustainable fishery are defined as those that demonstrate their alewife or blueback herring stock could support a commercial and/or recreational fishery that will not diminish potential future stock reproduction and recruitment Amendment 2

16 Less than half of Maine s municipal commercial river herring fisheries meet sustainability targets Maine coastal, in-river, and intercept fisheries do not meet sustainability requirements defined by ASMFC at this time

17 What needs to happen for these Maine fisheries to meet the sustainability definition? Collect catch and effort data Collect Biological Data Provide increased protection for native and migratory river herring populations in state waters though management actions

18 Timeline for Management Actions January 1, Sustainability plans were due at ASMFC (states have been granted a brief delay until June 2010 for some sections) July 15, 2010 ASMFC Technical Committee review and approval of sustainability plans submitted by states September January 2011 Approval of plans by ASMFC Management Board January - June 2011 State implementation of management actions for approved ASMFC plan December 31, 2011 Closure of all river herring fisheries without an approved sustainability plan - or conduct river herring fisheries with an ASMFC approved management plan.

19 2012 Regulation Changes Beginning Jan. 1, 2012, it is unlawful for any person to take, possess, harvest, or sell river herring in the State of Maine or in waters of the State Exceptions: Towns that maintain rights for harvest and have a harvest plan approved by the DMR Commissioner 5% bycatch in fisheries inside and outside of Maine waters Recreational limit of 25 per person per day (was previously one bushel) Exception: If a town has harvest rights, recreational take is only allowed if it is allowed by the town

20 Pending ESA Listing Currently listed as Species of Concern Timeline: August 5, 2011 Petition November 2, 2011 Positive 90 day finding August 5, month determination Considering Bluebacks and Alewives separately Have been asked to consider regions separately

21 What are your ideas? How do we meet these goals?

22 Questions? Claire Enterline, Maine Dept. of Marine Resources 21 State House Station, Augusta, (207) ;

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