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In an overwhelming vote of 14-3, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission took the historic first step of starting to reform the management of menhaden on our Atlantic coast.
It was all thanks to 90,000 public comments, with the vast majority asking for the protection of this vital fish from industrial overfishing. About one third of these comments came from Greenpeace supporters, via their website and the petition on Change.org.
The menhaden population is currently at 8 percent of what it was at unfished levels. The ASMFC has agreed to reduce harvest by 37 percent compared to 2010 levels—that means there will be four times as many menhaden in the ocean as there were in 2010. This victory been a long time coming finally putting real limits on one of our last uncontrolled industrial fisheries. Each and every signature made a difference!
Menhaden have been called "the most important fish in the sea" and it's true—they are the most important fish for sustaining the Atlantic ecosystem. Fish we love to eat, like striped bass, and birds of prey, like the osprey, depend on menhaden for survival. Unfortunately menhaden are a severely depleted species with only 8% of their unfished levels left in our coastal waters. We grind it up and put it into pet food, health supplements and a variety of other uses when there are alternative sources of fish that don't negatively impact the heath our coastal waters.
Right now, we are at a critical point for the menhaden. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is re-evaluating management for this important fish, and they have opened up the dialogue to public comment. It's time the ASFMC hears your voice.
Tell the ASFMC to adopt conservation measures to rebuild the menhaden population allowing it to once again feed our ocean wildlife.
We have until November 2nd at 5pm EST to send in comments. Please Take Action Now!
Toni Kerns, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
I am expressing my concern over the depleted condition of the menhaden stock and the negative impacts this is having on the coastal ecosystem. At long last there is a historic opportunity for the ASMFC to take the needed first step to turn this deplorable situation around by approving Target Option 4 of 40% maximum spawning potential (MSP). This option is more in line with the scientific...
I am expressing my concern over the depleted condition of the menhaden stock and the negative impacts this is having on the coastal ecosystem. At long last there is a historic opportunity for the ASMFC to take the needed first step to turn this deplorable situation around by approving Target Option 4 of 40% maximum spawning potential (MSP). This option is more in line with the scientific recommendations for protecting the ecological role of menhaden as prey than the current management regime, or any of the other options under consideration. The fact that the current MSP of menhaden is only 8% of a virgin stock, and that the stock has declined 88% in the last 25 years is shocking. Especially when you consider the importance of the menhaden to the entire Atlantic coast ecosystem. I also note that even Target Option 4 falls way short of the standards for forage species management recommended by leading marine scientists worldwide.
I support the 15% MSP threshold and a 40% MSP target with a requirement to manage the target, and a coast-wide landing cap including the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). We ask that restoration efforts commence without further delay.
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