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Menhaden: Point/Counterpoint

Should regulators limit the catch of Atlantic menhaden?
Menhaden is not overfished

By Monty Deihl
Deihl, a native of Reedville and fifth-generation menhaden fisherman, is director of fishing operations for Omega Protein.

Atlantic menhaden, the largest fishery on the East Coast, is vital to many hard-working Virginia communities. It supplies the reduction industry in Reedville, and bait for fishing businesses statewide. With the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission setting new catch limits this December, the potential impact on Virginia watermen, especially in the Northern Neck, is huge.

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Menhaden oversight getting serious

The Virginian-Pilot
November 26, 2012

Virginia lawmakers don't know much about fisheries management, but that hasn't stopped them from overseeing menhaden, the oily baitfish that plays a vital role in the marine food chain and the economy of the Northern Neck.

Members of the General Assembly have persistently rejected measures turning authority over to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which is charged with regulating all other fisheries.

An amendment pending approval by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission next month might be enough, however, to lead lawmakers to finally recognize their own limitations.

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ASMFC Postpones DE and VA Hearings
Update from ASMFC at 12:30pm Oct 29 - no word on NJ, NY or RI:

The following Atlantic Menhaden Public Hearings have been postponed, cancelled, or rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy and concern for public safety:

  • October 29 PRFC Hearing in Colonial Beach, VA -- rescheduled to 7 PM on November 1. Please be aware there will be a detour for those coming to Colonial Beach from the direction of the Potomac River Bridge on Rt. 205. On Rt. 205, the detour will take a right on Rt. 631, which will take you around to intersect with Rt. 205, below Colonial Beach. From there, take a left on Rt. 205 to go in to Colonial Beach. For more information, please contact Ellen Cosby, PRFC, at (804) 224-7148.
  • October 29 DE DNREC Hearing in Dover, DE -- postponed (new date, time and location to be determined).
  • October 30 MD MDR Hearing in Easton Armory, MD -- cancelled. MD still intends to conduct its November 1 hearing in Chespeake Beach, MD
 
Menhaden’s moment of truth
A great piece from Sera Drevenak at MFCN on menhaden past and present.

It’s crunch-time in the years-long battle to save what many people call the most important fish in the sea: Atlantic menhaden.

Anecdotal accounts of this odd oily fish indicate that they once swarmed up and down the east coast in huge schools and in numbers unimaginable to us today. Even more recently, scientific studies have shown that menhaden have declined 86% in the last 25 years, and that they have been exploited at too high a rate for at least 50 years. Half a century!

Read the rest over at FishHQ.

 
Menhaden in the Media

Many of you are speaking out at public hearings on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s proposed action on menhaden and press attention is picking up. Here’s a roundup of recent coverage in Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia.

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