"Menhaden Harvest Limit Sharply Cut By Fisheries Commission"

"Concerned that overfishing is destroying the ability of menhaden to reproduce, the commission that manages the Atlantic coast fishery voted Wednesday to sharply reduce the catch of the fish."

"Tiny, oily menhaden are called the ocean’s most important fish by environmentalists because they provide food for essential fish such as striped bass and for birds such as osprey, bald eagles and brown pelicans. Without menhaden, environmentalists say, the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay ecosystems would come crashing down.

At a meeting in Boston, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted 14 to 3 to cut the amount of menhaden that can be harvested annually from 183,000 metric tons to 174,000 metric tons. The commission must now draft and vote on a plan to implement the new rule, which is likely to become effective in May 2013, spokeswoman Tina Berger said.

A single company, Omega Protein Corp., took 160,000 metric tons of menhaden — 80 percent of about 450 million fish harvested last year — off the coast of Virginia, the only state that permits industrial fishing of menhaden. The company crushes the fish into meal to feed livestock and farmed fish around the world."

Darryl Fears reports for the Washington Post November 9, 2011.


Source: Wash Post, 11/11/2011