Pew is working with fishermen, scientists, conservationists, and others to restore Atlantic menhaden populations while there is still time.
In November, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will meet to discuss the issue. The commission—comprising state lawmakers, environmental agency workers, fishermen, industry representatives, and federal officials—manages fishing policies in coastal waters of the 15 Atlantic states.
Independent scientists have told commissioners that more menhaden must be left in the water to replenish severely depleted populations at a much faster rate. But commissioners are also considering proposals inconsistent with the best available science, including no action at all.
To make sure we have a healthy marine environment, Pew and its allies are calling for:
- Immediate action to rebuild the menhaden population—delaying and maintaining the status quo have been tried, have failed, and are not scientifically defensible.
- Management measures that adhere to the best scientific guidance and allow menhaden stocks to rebuild to at least four times their current size.
- An action plan to give fishery managers the tools they need to ensure successful rebuilding, including consideration of a coastwide catch limit.
Commercial fishing should not jeopardize the health of marine ecosystems, recreational fishing opportunities, or public resources. Pew's focus on sustainability, when successful, will have lasting benefits on the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic coast.