"Making Sense of Menhaden"

"In the Chesapeake Bay, a fight is raging over a little fish with an outsized importance."

"Over the week of July 4, 2022, people flocking to Chesapeake Bay’s Virginia coast were met at the water’s edge by hordes of ghastly visitors: schools of hand-sized silver menhaden washed up by the thousands, their carcasses floating in the surf in the summer’s heat. By the week’s end, as the fish liquefied in a dumpster at a nearby wharf, circulating petitions were gaining signatures.

“End the most destructive fishery in the USA! The Menhaden Reduction Industry!” read one petition. Conservationists garnered almost 20,000 signatures in the first month, and the outcry made it to the desk of Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin.

The dead menhaden were the victims of a net spill, says Chris Macaluso. In fact, it was one of three last summer. Macaluso is director of the Center for Marine Fisheries at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, whose organization circulated one of the myriad petitions."

Jack Darrell reports for Hakai magazine February 6, 2023.

Source: Hakai, 02/07/2023