Great News for Atlantic Menhaden!
Great news for menhaden, arguably one of the world’s most important species of forage fish! On August 5th, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) voted unanimously to implement Ecological Reference Points (ERPs) for Atlantic menhaden. This decision will improve menhaden management and conservation in the Atlantic to account for the needs of their associated predators in order to maintain stable populations to support the multitude of businesses and anglers that depend on them.
Menhaden play a significant role as forage fish for a variety of our favorite gamefish, marine mammals, and seabirds. Recreational and economically important species such as striped bass, king mackerel, bluefish, bluefin tuna, cobia, and tarpon, among many others, rely on seasonal concentrations of menhaden as part of their annual life cycle. Many businesses in both the recreational and commercial fishing and boating sectors rely on the abundance of marine predators along the US Atlantic coasts which, in turn, depend on a healthy abundance of menhaden. Over 1 million jobs and $56 billion in economic activity is generated by outdoor activities including recreation, tourism, wildlife engagement such as whale watching, and fishing along the US East Coast. This new method of management that includes consideration of predator needs is a major step forward in safeguarding the many businesses and people that depend on menhaden and a step closer towards a true ecosystem-based fisheries management system.
The IGFA would like to applaud the ASFMC’s decision to establish ERPs for menhaden management. The IGFA would also like to thank Pew Charitable Trusts, the American Sportfishing Association, Florida Wildlife Federation, Wild Oceans and the Angler Action Foundation who joined us in voicing support for the establishment of ERPs.