Fishery Body Should Modernize Management of Menhaden, Groups Say

Pew among 80-plus signatories seeking policy that reflects forage fish’s critical role as prey

Fishery Body Should Modernize Management of Menhaden

The Pew Charitable Trusts is among more than 80 national, regional, state, and local groups and businesses urging the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to take the final step in modernizing management of a critical East Coast forage fish—the Atlantic menhaden.

In a July 16 letter, the signatories asked the commission to recognize the critical role menhaden play in the wider marine ecosystem—including as a vital food source for myriad other wildlife such as fish, seabirds, and marine mammals—and to manage the species based on that. To help accomplish that, the letter stresses the importance of using ecological reference points, which account for predator needs. For decades, the commission has managed commercial fishing of menhaden without considering its broader roles.

The commission is expected to vote on a transition to this modern way of managing menhaden when it meets in early August.

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