Friday, September 30, 2011

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A Turning Point for Menhaden

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is now considering to what goals Menhaden fishing will be managed.  While I'm not a member or Chesapeake Bay Foundation, or even a proponent of many of their points of view, I think they have about the right position on this:
CBF is recommending option F15% as the overfishing threshold, which ensures that 15 percent of the original, unfished menhaden population is left intact (instead of the 8 percent it is currently). CBF is also recommending a fishing rate target of at least F30%, as an appropriate interim target.

As an ASMFC commissioner, I urge people to tell ASMFC that menhaden are very important in their ecological role, and it’s simply outrageous how low we’ve allowed the population to get. The rapid decline of menhaden creates huge problems for the entire ecosystem. People should tell ASMFC they want new reference points for menhaden that are sufficiently conservative and will turn around this decline and increase the population. Furthermore, the population should be allowed to increase to a point where menhaden can support a fishery and fulfill their vital ecological role.
I would be happier if the F15% were raised to 30, but I suspect the politics might not permit that.

Send your comments to ASMFC, by 5 p.m. November 2, 2011.

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