"Guidelines backed by conservationists would have led to catch limits that considered food needs of other fish and wildlife".
"East Coast fishery managers Monday rejected a proposal backed by conservation groups to start setting harvest limits for Atlantic menhaden based on their role as food for other fish and wildlife, not merely their commercial value.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission received nearly 160,000 public comments, more than 99 percent of which urged it to adopt the new harvest guidelines, or reference points, that would take the ecological role of the fish into account when setting catch limits. If adopted, the guidelines would almost certainly have required a reduction in the current coastwide menhaden catch limits of 200,000 metric tons.
While menhaden are not considered overfished — their abundance appears to be increasing along the East Coast, scientists say — conservation groups contend that current management does not adequately account for the importance of the small, oily fish as a food source for marine mammals, many birds, and a host of other fish, such as striped bass."