Commission denies petition to close sounds, rivers to shrimp trawlers

Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 05:56 PM.

State fisheries laws do not allow trawling in designated primary and secondary nursery waters. Primary nurseries are most often upstream in the estuaries where fish are birthed; the secondary nurseries are the areas to which they migrate and grow toward maturity before heading out to sea.

It is Hergenrader’s contention that the entire sound areas and river mouths should be designated as secondary nurseries. Citing Department of Marine Fisheries data, he said that several finfish varieties – particularly Atlantic croaker, weakfish (gray trout) and spot – use these areas as nurseries and that their numbers are being threatened by the trawlers, primarily as a result of their loss to by-catch – that is, unwanted fish caught up in the nets along with the shrimp.

Several people at Thursday’s meeting criticized Hergenrader’s assumptions, saying they were not based on sound science. 



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