Menhaden Fisheries Coalition Thanks ASMFC For Adopting Best Science on Menhaden Ecological Reference Points

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition (MFC) thanks the Commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Menhaden Management Board for following the best available science in setting reference points for Atlantic menhaden.

As part of Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Menhaden Intestate Fishery Management Plan (FMP), the Commission voted 16-2 to continue current management measures for Atlantic menhaden until its Biological Ecological Reference Points (BERP) Workgroup finishes developing menhaden-specific ecological reference points (ERPs). These ERPs are supported by the MFC, and would manage menhaden based on its role in the ecosystem as forage for predator species.

The best science shows that managing forage fish according to general biological principals, as advocated by various environmental and sportfishing groups, is not the correct approach. Earlier this year, Dr. Ray Hilborn and a team of top fishery scientists released a study that recommended forage fish be managed on a case-by-case basis, based on the unique biological and ecological factors affecting individual forage species. The BERP Workgroup is following this advice in its work developing a menhaden-specific management model.

While these reference points are being developed, current menhaden management has led to a healthy stock. The ASMFC’s 2015 and 2017 stock assessments of Atlantic menhaden found that menhaden is not overfished and not experiencing overfishing.  


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

CONTACT: Bob Vanasse
Menhaden Fisheries Coalition

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