Menhaden Draft Amendment 3


The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will hold a final vote on Amendment 3 during a two-day meeting November 13-14 in Maryland, USA. Section 2.6 reference points will determine how coast wide catch limits are set into the future.

ISSUE 2.6 Reference Points – Option E: "BERP Workgroup Continues to Develop Menhaden-Specific ERPs with Interim Use of 75% Target, 40% Threshold".

The goal of management must be a higher target (75% of the historic menhaden population) with a more protective bottom-line threshold (40% of the historic menhaden population)

Interim ERPs (ecological reference points) are needed so that menhaden are properly managed while ecosystem models are developed over the next few years.

Option E is based on a simple common sense idea: we should maintain a large menhaden population to support the ecosystem. The best, peer-reviewed science supports this alternative.

Building and maintaining higher menhaden abundance is good for predators, commercial and recreational fishermen, wildlife businesses, and communities along the East Coast.

For decades, the ASMFC has recognized the need to protect the ecosystem values of menhaden, and has committed to moving forward with ERPs.

The Current Approach for Setting Catch Limits is Wrong Waiting years to adopt an ecosystem approach (Options A or B) is unacceptable.

It is time for ASMFC to move away from a management approach that only considers the menhaden population and not their predators. This approach doesn’t work for a forage fish like Atlantic menhaden.

Atlantic menhaden are recovering, but their predators (striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, cod, king mackerel, cobia, etc) are struggling. These predators need food to thrive and menhaden is one of the most important forage species overall for the East Coast.

Over the past few years, Commissioners and the vast majority of the public who have commented have made it clear that the curren approach is a fundamentally flawed basis for management. Keeping the status quo in place with Options A or B is unacceptable when there is a much better choice – Option E – on the table.

The Commission’s technical advisors will take several more years to develop menhaden-specific ERPs. In the meantime, Option E is the right choice. Our marine game fish can’t wait.

bluefin tuna


THANK YOU! Option E is a historic chance to invest in the future of the menhaden resource, improve both fishing opportunities and ecosystem health, and benefit all stakeholders over time

Menhaden were once more plentiful and distributed in every Atlantic state, and recent trends show that it can happen again.

The sole purpose of Option E is to enable the menhaden population to continue to grow to a high level and recover its historic geographic range from Maine to Florida to provide for predators, fisheries, and ecosystem services.

Ecological management of menhaden and effective conservation will improve the productivity of this resource over time, increasing menhaden’s value to every state and stakeholder through improved recreational fishing, commercial fishing and seafood industries, and wildlife and tourism businesses that all depend on an abundance of menhaden.