New Hampshire lawmakers want a federal disaster declaration for the Atlantic herring fishery.
Herring is a key bait fish for lobster and tuna, but its population is shrinking.
Federal regulators sharply lowered the state’s share of commercial herring quotas last year, in what officials say was a huge economic blow to New Hampshire’s small fleet.
The latest available data, from June, shows the species is still considered overfished, although overfishing is not actively occurring. Scientists are also seeing a record low number of new herring adding to the population, a key metric for future years known as recruitment.
Governor Chris Sununu has asked the US Commerce Secretary for a disaster declaration to give aid to affected fishermen while the stock is failing.
The state’s Congressional delegation threw their support behind that request this week.