October 15, 2012
CBF Calls for Reasonable Reductions
in Menhaden Catch
(NEWPORT NEWS, VA)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Hampton Roads Senior Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement regarding the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's proposed changes to the management of Atlantic menhaden:
"The number of young Atlantic menhaden entering the population each year has been down for nearly 20 years, and the total menhaden population is at its lowest level on record. The last peer-reviewed population estimate showed menhaden are currently overfished and have been for 32 of the past 54 years.
"Besides being an important commercial fishery, menhaden are a major source of food for other Bay creatures, including striped bass, bluefish, sea birds, ospreys, bald eagles, and marine mammals. Clearly something must be done to better protect the menhaden population and begin restoration of this economically and ecologically important species.
"CBF is calling for fair and reasonable changes to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's management plan in order to rebuild the menhaden population. These include:
- A 25 percent reduction of the menhaden catch as a first step toward eliminating overfishing.
- Achieving the new target fishing mortality rate within five years.
- Allocation of the harvest at a 70:30 split between the industrial fishery and the local bait fisheries to avoid undue harm to local fishermen catching menhaden for bait.
"CBF believes such steps are necessary to ensure long-term protection of the Atlantic menhaden population and to improve harvest opportunities for everyone—watermen, anglers, and wildlife. Once the commission has acted, CBF will call upon the Virginia General Assembly to implement any new conservation measures for menhaden in Virginia waters."
Find out more about menhaden.