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River herring status subject of forthcoming NOAA survey

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The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wants fishermen to help it track two species of river herring.

NOAA announced on Tuesday, March 25 that it plans to ask both recreational and commercial fishermen about the populations and other information about alewives (known scientifically as Alosa pseudoharengus) and bluebacks (A. aestivalis).

NOAA wants to track the populations over time, so it plans to contact both current and retired anglers. The research will take place between Maine and North Carolina. NOAA plans to ask about how “run-timing, abundance, distribution, individual size and species composition” may have changed historically.

NOAA plans to use the survey results to help it manage the species.

The agency plans to initially contact fishermen by phone to schedule either an in-person or telephone interview. It wants to interview 400 people for about an hour each.

The Office of Management & Budget must approve the idea.

NOAA is taking public comments until May 27 on whether this is a good idea, what questions to ask, whether an hour interview is reasonable, etc. For details, see http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-25/html/2014-06431.htm.

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