Peter Baker of the Pew Environment Group issued the following statement on today's vote by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission on management of the Atlantic menhaden fishery.
“Today the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission listened to the science and the public in taking a historic step to end overfishing of Atlantic menhaden and to begin to rebuild the population of this important little fish. By adopting the first coastwide catch limit on this fishery, the commission has begun to reverse the 90 percent plunge in the menhaden population over the past three decades. Sound science clearly calls for leaving more of these fish in the water to fulfill their ecological role. More menhaden means more food for ocean wildlife, from seabirds to whales and popular game fish such as striped bass.
The 25 percent reduction from the 2011 menhaden catch (a 20 percent reduction in catch over a three year average) is a good start.Tens of thousands of people from all walks of life—anglers, business owners, birders, scientists, conservationists, and more—have long been urging this sort of action because they know what menhaden mean for their coastal ecosystem and economy. Today those voices were heard.”