NOAA’s Update of ‘Menhaden Facts’ Webpage Confirms Sustainable Menhaden Fishery

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A recent update of the "Menhaden Facts" webpage of NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Office confirms the sustainability of the Atlantic menhaden fishery, and states that Atlantic menhaden is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing.

Menhaden's predators target younger menhaden than those caught by the fishery

NOAA and the ASMFC have now officially declared the species to be sustainably harvested and managed. The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition is committed to continuing that sustainability into the future.

NOAA Fisheries’ Chesapeake Bay Office has updated its “Menhaden Facts” webpage, confirming the sustainability of the Atlantic menhaden fishery, and stating clearly that Atlantic menhaden is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing. The update is based upon the most current menhaden benchmark stock assessment, released in early 2015.

The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition credits the stock’s natural resilience for these positive indicators. Years of diligent work by state and federal scientists produced the 2015 Atlantic menhaden stock assessment, considered the most thorough and accurate in the history of the fishery. Its results differ sharply from the prior update assessment, released in 2012, which was broadly criticized for mathematical flaws that underestimated the species’ health.

The results of the 2012 assessment were used as justification for a sweeping 20 percent coastwide harvest cut. As it did then, and now with the support of the 2015 stock assessment, the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition questions the legitimacy of this harvest cut.

Fisheries managers have now affirmed what the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition has long maintained. In January, the latest menhaden stock assessment found that menhaden were in fact being harvested sustainably, with positive indicators such as record low levels of fishing mortality and near-record levels of stock fecundity. In June, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) acted on this news and increased harvests by 10 percent, partially reversing the 2012 cut. And last month, NOAA updated its official menhaden page to reflect these changes.

Both agencies—NOAA and the ASMFC—have now officially declared the species to be sustainably harvested and managed. The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition is committed to continuing that sustainability into the future.

About the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition:

The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition is a collective of menhaden fisherman, related businesses, and supporting industries. Comprised of over 30 businesses along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition conducts media and public outreach on behalf of the menhaden industry to ensure that members of the public, media, and government are informed of important issues, events, and facts about the fishery.

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Robert Vanasse
@savingseafood
since: 05/2011
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