“Stocks of menhaden along the Atlantic coast have plummeted to their lowest levels on record. Commission data show that menhaden are currently being overfished and have been for 32 of the past 54 years. Clearly, something must be done to better protect menhaden, a natural resource important to the Bay’s ecology and Virginia’s economy.”

CBF’s Virginia update on critical action the State Legislature needs to take. PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD CLOSES NOVEMBER 16. Help protect menhaden population in the Bay.

As a companion article in this newsletter details, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is now considering steps to protect and begin restoration of the Atlantic menhaden population. Ensuring that menhaden remain abundant in the Atlantic and the Chesapeake Bay is critical. Described as the “most important fish in the sea,” menhaden provide a major food source for other fish, marine mammals, and birds.

The companion article mentioned above.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is pushing for fair and reasonable changes to the management plan in order to rebuild the menhaden population and boost opportunities for watermen, anglers, and wildlife:

A 25 percent reduction of the menhaden catch as a first step toward eliminating overfishing.
Achieving the target level fishing mortality within five years.
To avoid undue harm to local fishermen catching menhaden for bait, the allocation scheme should split the new quota 70:30 between the industrial fishery and the local bait fisheries.

SUBMIT YOUR COMMENT BY NOVEMBER 16th TO HELP PROTECT MENHADEN.

Many people have never even heard of this boney, oily, unappetizing fish (also known as bunker or pogy).

But without this little unsung hero, the Bay’s ecosystem would likely collapse.

Learn more about Menhaden.

One thought on ““Stocks of menhaden along the Atlantic coast have plummeted to their lowest levels on record. Commission data show that menhaden are currently being overfished and have been for 32 of the past 54 years. Clearly, something must be done to better protect menhaden, a natural resource important to the Bay’s ecology and Virginia’s economy.”

  1. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Pew Environment and the Public Trust Project consistently mislead the public with the factual but deceptive claim that “menhaden are currently being overfished and have been for 32 of the past 54 years.”

    When offering this claim, the organizations omit important details in order to make an exaggerated point. From 1954-2008, of the 32 years during which menhaden was overfished, only two of those instances occurred in the last 15 years for which there is available data (1993-2008) – most recently in 2008. Because menhaden is a relatively short-lived species (10-12 years), the data from recent years is much more relevant in estimating the health of the stock than historical data from the 1950s-1970s.

    Determining whether overfishing has occurred since 2008 is a more difficult task. In 2011, the ASMFC adopted a new, more conservative baseline for its definition of overfishing. Using this new reference point, the ASMFC’s Menhaden Management Board determined that overfishing occurred in 2011 (no overfishing determinations were made for 2009 and 2010 due to the new reference point). However, this is based on the 2012 assessment model, which was found by the ASMFC’s Menhaden Technical Committee to have likely been too pessimistic, underestimating the population size and overestimating fishing mortality. The Technical Committee subsequently determined that the 2012 stock assessment based on that model was not suitable for management advice. Because of these inaccuracies and other problems with the assessment, the exact state of the menhaden population is currently unclear.

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