Report Sightings of the Menhaden Fleet Here

It is important to track where the Menhaden Fleet is fishing in the Chesapeake Bay and/or along the Atlantic Coast. If you see the menhaden fleet please record and post here:
1) Date
2) The time of day
3) lat/long along with a description of the area (i.e “2 miles off the coast out from Cape Henry” or ” 5 miles southeast of Tangier Island”), please report
4) Were they harvesting or what activity were they doing
5) Take pictures if possible and email them to us so we can post them
6) Any other information you feel is important about your experience spotting them


31 Responses to Report Sightings of the Menhaden Fleet Here

  1. William Franz says:

    One boat observed Tuesday, August 3, 2010. Steamed to the northeast of Smith Point Light and turned due west toward Buoy #1 of Potomac River. Stopped and turned back south, then deployed nets.

  2. Confirmed reports today, August 9, 2010 of Omega working around 11am 2 miles off Cape Henry with two of their larger boats

  3. Jim C. says:

    8/9/10 – 2 boats observed off Virginia Beach at approximately 61st. street level.
    400 yards off the beach. Both boats came in around 12pm and started netting procedures. Were still there around 1:30pm when I left the beach area.
    I have 2 pictures to post. Will email them to Brandon at Tidalfish to post here.

  4. Paul says:

    Friday June 10, 2011, the Blue fleet and tender boats were opperating near the high-rise bridge on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We saw the Grey boats ahead of the larger Blue Boats, but had not a clue what they were doing so close to the Eastern Shore, near Fishermans Island. We were in a Jon Boat flounder fishing. Caught nothing, were boarded by the Coast Guard, then let go, as one more large Blue fishing boat came in from the Atlantic under the high rise bridge, and passed us heading west. Sorry we didn’t get pics. Seemed they were very close to shore, heading toward Kiptopeake State Park.

  5. Ed Hopkins says:

    large (very long, 2 cabins) bunker boat pursed nets 1 mile off beach at Assawoman Island, Wednesday, 6/29/11 2-3 pm. Location just south of Wallops Island NASA facility, Accomack County, Virginia (eastern shore of Virginia).

  6. Shore says:

    Thousands of dead Menhaden on Bayside of the Eastern Shore of Virginia from Nassawadox to Silver Beach

  7. Jan Boyce says:

    We, at Smith Beach, Eastville, Va, were not aware of this site and have not reported the many sightings of bunker boats at and around our beach two weeks ago. They remained until we had many dead menhaden washing up on the beach. The smell of rotting fish was not pleasant at all.
    Fishing has declined very much over the past years since the bay has been stripped of menhaden.
    Now that we are aware of this site we will report sightings of menhaden boats.

  8. Andrew K says:

    Monday August 15th
    5:30pm till Dark
    3/4 to 1 mile off Little Island Park, Sandbridge, VA (South of Rudee Inlet)
    One Large boat, was anchored, not doing anything
    Got several pictures, will email them.

  9. Carl Weisiger says:

    July 10 and II, 2011 Menhaden washed up on Smith Beach (near Eastville), Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I did not record exact times and dates of Omega Protein sightings but during the period July 1 to August 9, 2011 I saw spotter planes over Smith Beach waters approximately 10 times and sighted Omega Protein boats working between 1 to 10 miles west and southwest of Smith Beach approximately 6 times (almost every week). On one day the Omega Protein boats hauling nets within 1/4 mile west of the outer sandbar or about 1/2 mile west of Smith Beach where the water is approximately 15 to 20 feet deep. In the future I and friends at Smith Beach plan to use this site to report future sightings.

  10. Sighting of large Omega protein boat 8/23/2011 7:30 PM approximately 2 miles due west of Smith Beach. N 37 21.5 W 76 01.2. Boat was moving west.

  11. Jan Boyce says:

    Appoximately 6 menhaden boats west of Smith Beach, Eastville, Va. on Sept. 7, 2011 at 12:05 p.m.. They have been sending out their smaller boats with the nets scooping up everything they can get. Normally there are spotter planes but they haven’t been heard today.

  12. Jan Boyce says:

    9/8/11 8:35 a.m. to present
    The bunker boats (menhaden fleet) are off Smith Beach, Eastville, Va. again tobay. The spotter plane is with them today. They are sending out the netting boats and taking all the fish they can get.
    They were three in number earlier and have been joined by at least two more boats. They are also moving very close to the sand bar that seperates the main body of the bay from our beach.

  13. Jan, thanks for the updates, please keep them coming.

  14. Jan Boyce says:

    The bunker boats left the Smith Beach area about noon on 9/8/11 and headed north. They took their two spotter planes with them.

  15. Jan Boyce says:

    9/9/11 11:00a.m.
    They’re back!!!! Six bunker boats and at least two spotter planes. They are so close to Smith Beach that we can almost touch them. Thank heaven for the large sand bar separating us from the bay or they would be on our beach. No wonder there is no more sport fishing around here; when you scoop up everything with those nets- what’s left????

  16. Pretty simple why there fishing is not good around there, take all the bait and the fish have nothing to eat.

    Keep the reports coming, we need to keep track where they are fishing in the bay on a regular basis since their records are kept confidential because of a loop hole in the law which they say they need to keep confidential because of competitive reasons. As if the other 100 other menhaden factories (that no longer exist) will sneak up on them.

    Thanks again for the reports, it will help in the effort to determine how many days they are “really” fishing the Chesapeake and else where.

  17. I too am at Smith Beach & report menhaden boats Sept. 7,8,&9. They get closer all the time, maybe 1/4 mile off our beach at best. Nothing but a small sandbar & a little channel separates us. The pleasure of a little fishing outing with grandchildren has all but been depleted over the last few years as thes boats take all that is in their nets, surely not just menhaden!

  18. Jan Boyce says:

    The bunker boats were so close you could read the name “Smith Island” on the hull of the boat today. Neighbors came from across the street and were amazed at how close the boats were.
    The boats left around 1:00p.m. What’s next? Maybe we’ll wake up to a bunch of dead fish on our beach as we have in the past.

  19. Bob says:

    An Adder to the Smith Beach Post. We were out on the water among the fleet and counted 12 host ships and three spotter planes around noon. There were three types of boats 1) the Danville boats 2) Gulf based boats 3) Smaller vessels I hadn’t see before, these carried/hosted only one net boat vs. the normal two.

  20. James Kiffer says:

    Manhaden fleet at the Bay Bridge Tunnel. Three boats working their on Tuesday September 21.
    On Wednesday September 22 & 23 seen from Bay Bridge Tunnel to Cherrystone Reef all day.
    It is just amazing to me that that much manhaden can be removed from the bay in three days.
    Also I was there in July and they where at 36A to concrete ships. How long does this have to go on before their is no manhaden in the bay. Fishing has been getting worse every year I spend time their. I am about to spent time and money in other places. Have been fishing their for over fifteen years every year it worse. I believe that this is one of the probloems that persist in the decline of fishing in the lower part of the bay.

  21. mike says:

    There is a Pogy boat docked in Fall River Ma. The company that operates the boat is called ARK bait.They have been raping Mount Hope and Narragansett Bay since I was a kid.It has gotten to the point that there are no longer any pogies here. They eventually started going south because there were no more fish here. I will send reports when they start fishing again in the spring.

  22. Airlia G says:

    May 7, 2012 at 9:00 am off Westerhouse Creek on the Eastern Shore near the buoy. Heard the planes this morning when I left and was just hoping it was one going into land at Campbell Field but when I got back there were five boats. Sadly, I guess the season has begun.

  23. Airlia says:

    The boats are here again today. Spotter planes at six a.m. and five boats headed north. I have photos but am not sure how to email them.

  24. chad says:

    Yes tis the season again , and I hope we catch more menhaden than ever. You guys keep taking pictures and reporting your sightings , We are really just average people just trying to making a living not ufo’s. Reporting your sightings of menhaden boats what a joke.

  25. Mike says:

    Ark Bait in Fall River outside my back door taking in pogies, bluefish and stripers in their nets. The bay is once again dead after their fishing. They use spotter planes too. Someone needs to stop them.

  26. They”ve been in the Chesapeake NORTH of the bay bridge tunnel off and on for the past week…Silver Beach, Va (near Exmore). DEad fish little ring the bay, creek, and coves. Please help if you can.

  27. Wish I could upload photos.

  28. Jane Smith says:

    Menhaden boats were sighted off from Silver Beach in Northampton County on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Chesapeake Bay on June 18, 2013.Today, June 19 the beach was loaded with at least 3bushels of dead,decaying menhaden.

  29. Debbie says:

    In the Chesapeake off Silver Beach this morning

  30. 2 bunker boats off Smith Beach near Eastville VA. Close to 2nd sandbar (within 200 yards). Netting with purse nets.

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