Press Briefing: Atlantic Menhaden Management
On Tuesday, November 8, the Pew Environment Group hosted a phone briefing to review the critical state of the Atlantic menhaden fishery and the need for improved management from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). The commission will vote this Wednesday, Nov. 9, on whether to set new benchmarks for the critical fishery.
The Atlantic menhaden plays an important role in marine ecosystems from Maine to Florida, serving as a critical food source for wildlife such as whales, dolphins, ospreys, and eagles, as well as valuable fish species like tuna, cod, striped bass, and tarpon. Hundreds of millions of menhaden are hauled in and ground up, reduced to fish meal and oil for use as dietary supplements, fertilizer, farm animal feed, and pet food. The fishery, the largest on the East Coast by weight, has exceeded the designated "safe fishing target" every year since 1960. As a result, the population is at less than 10 percent of historic levels.