Atlantic Menhaden Management Update MENHADEN MUDDLE #22

by Charlie Hutchinson
At the 3/22 menhaden meeting there was  much discussion about applying multi species technology to menhaden management. I was critical of that approach, not because it is technically inferior, but because I saw it as a means to defer action.. Getting action of substance on menhaden is a struggle without any more delay mechanisms. However we may have seen ASMFC multi species consideration at work during the proceedings on striped bass. If so, there is reason for concern.

When dealing with the menhaden issue much has been said about the relationship between striped bass and menhaden The decline in striped bass abundance has been related to the lack of adequate forage. The striped management board has just determined that the present fishing management plan needed to be amended to obtain a 40% decrease  in fishing mortality for stripers  . The major issue with menhaden abundance has been the lack of forage for the present number of predators. So, how does the Board plan to provide adequate nutrition for  substantialy more striped bass? The increase in abundance of menhaden proposed for consideration by the 3/22 meeting doesn’t even remedy the present shortfall.

If this is multi species management ASMFC style, we are in for a complete collapse of our marine system . Most likely it is a failure of the Commissioners to understand what they are doing. Maybe it is time for Congress to take a hard look at how the ASMFC is functioning. As it stands now, their track record is dismal, and things have to change, Omega not withstanding.

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This entry was posted in Articles on Menhaden, Menhaden In the News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Atlantic Menhaden Management Update MENHADEN MUDDLE #22

  1. Striperfever says:

    Much of the above is true. However, please correct the statement regarding the 40% reduction. The language used by ASMFC in thier press release is as follows:

    “initiated development of Draft Addendum III with the goals of reducing striped bass fishing mortality (F) up to 40% and further protecting spawning stock when it is concentrated and vulnerable. The addendum was initiated in order to allow managers to promptly respond to the results of the stock assessment update in the fall if necessary. Provisions of the addendum, if passed, could be implemented prior to the start of the 2012 fishing year.”

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