New Analysis Shows Minuscule Impact of Fishing on Atlantic Menhaden

WASHINGTON — August 3, 2020 — As the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) considers whether to adopt Ecological Reference Points for Atlantic menhaden at its Summer Meeting this week,¬†a new scientific analysis¬†confirms that current management is working, and that the fishery has a minuscule impact on the overall menhaden population.

The review, conducted by prominent fisheries scientist Dr. Steve Cadrin of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at the request of the Science Center for Marine Fisheries (SCEMFIS), found that 99.5 percent of menhaden born each year are left in the water, where they serve as forage for other species and fulfill other ecological roles. Just 0.5 percent of menhaden are harvested by either the reduction or bait fishery.

The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition has produced an infographic to illustrate the findings of the new analysis.

About the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition

The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition is a collective of menhaden fishermen, related businesses, and supporting industries. Comprised of over 30 businesses along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition conducts media and public outreach on behalf of the menhaden industry to ensure that members of the public, media, and government are informed of important issues, events, and facts about the fishery.

Atlantic Menhaden: Fishing By the Numbers

According to an analysis from the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition, between 2004-2013, the menhaden fishery only harvested an average of 6.4 percent of the total menhaden population. This leaves over 93% of menhaden left in the ecosystem as forage for birds, fish and other sea creatures. Menhaden fishing mortality, which hit an all-time low in the last assessment, is dwarfed by natural mortality, which accounts for predation and mortality from other causes outside of the fishery.