Vol. 10, No. 4  April 2005    News & Comment for and by the Fishermen of Maine          SUBSCRIBE NOW!!
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Where Have All The Herring Gone?
by Laurie Schreiber

There is plenty of evidence, which indicates that herring stocks are being wiped out by overfishing, according to folks who attended the first meeting last week of the new MDI Healthy Herring Management Group.

About 20 people attended the meeting. Among them, fishermen said that huge schools of herring, once collecting in weirs or being chased by tuna, aren’t showing up in recent years. Fishery managers said there is anecdotal evidence that new fishing practices are disrupting stocks. And whale watch naturalist Zack Klyver, who hosted the meeting, said the frenzied feeding of predator species upon prey, which characterizes an ocean abundant with life, is no longer happening.

Under the New England Fishery Manage-ment Council’s herring management plan, the inshore Gulf of Maine comprises Area 1A, adjoined by Area 1B offshore and Areas 2 and 3 to the south.

Quotas in the form of total allowable catches have never been reached in Areas 1B, 2, or 3, but there is concern that Area 1A is at risk of being over fished. But National Marine Fisheries Service scientists say the available data show a level of abundance in the entire stock complex, including Area 1A, that supports existing fishing levels.

In the mid and late 1990s there were almost daily displays of surface feedings on herring. During the last two years we have seen virtually none, the abundant schools of herring have not been visible. — Zach Klyver, Whalewatch Naturalist Photo Bob Bowman

Amendment 1 to the plan, which is now being developed by the council, includes alternatives that could limit or control access and control the type of gear that can be used in Area 1A. Public hearings on the alternatives are expected to begin this May. Implementation of the new plan is expected at the end of 2005.


Confederate Ghost Ship
by Mike Crowe

There has been one native-born Maine Vice President of the United States — Hannibal Hamlin, of Paris, Maine (1809-1889). He couldn’t have gone to Washington at a more turbulent time in the country’s history. But he still found the job so boring he joined the Maine Coast Guard while still in office. He joined as a private, the same rank he held when he left.

The vice-presidency has long been thought of as a spare light bulb-in-thecloset kind of job. It isn’t considered often, doesn’t do anything while there and only appears if the one in the lamp burns out. The situation seems reversed at the moment, with the vice president a connected, hands-on, behind-the-scenes operator, whose real power is not exactly known, at least publicly.


The implied swagger and casual self-assurance of Confederate Captain Raphael Semmes was no doubt bolstered by his long record of sinking and capturing Union ships of all kinds. Seen here aboard the CSS Alabama, at Cape Town, in 1863, the elusive Semmes was the terror of the Atlantic. With his Executive Officer John Kell in the background, Semmes leans on one of the ships heavier-rifled pivot guns.


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