I just finished wrapping up our 2017 Fishing Almanac issue, which includes reviews of the past fishing season and predictions for 2017 for local areas from Delaware Bay to Maine.
The common thread that linked almost all the columns was the remarkable resurgence of Atlantic menhaden (also known as bunker or pogies) and the fantastic fishing sparked by their presence. That included, among others, an especially good striper season in southern Maine, a late-summer big-fish blitz in Boston Harbor, an unheard of bunker bite along the Outer Cape beaches, a chaotic spring bite in upper Narragansett Bay, a great striper and bluefish through the summer at the mouth of the Connecticut River, and of course the bunker madness this fall along the south shore of Long Island and off Monmouth County, New Jersey.
It appears that we are finally seeing the benefits of better menhaden management, which came to be thanks to cooperative efforts between fishermen and environmentalists who recognized the importance of maintaining healthy populations of menhaden.
If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of fishermen in the Northeast who benefitted from the resurgence of menhaden this year, please do your part to make certain that we continue to conserve this vital forage fish.
The Commission responsible for conserving Atlantic menhaden is seeking public comment on changes to the way this important forage fish is managed with respect to its role in the ecosystem, as well as revisiting how the catch is allocated among fisheries from Maine to Florida.
A Public Information Document (PID) is available for review and comment through January 4, 2017, at www.asmfc.org. Gathering the views of the public through the PID, which presents a range of issues and options, is the first step in preparing Amendment 3, slated for completion next year.
Diverse groups, including the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association and Wild Oceans, are urging the public to express their views to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) using the address on its web site or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: Menhaden PID). Tell the commission how important it is to you and your fishing that there is an abundance of menhaden in the water, and support the use of “ecological reference points” to set population targets and catch limits. To this end, the fishing and conservation communities are strongly backing Option D under Issue 1 – Reference Points.
You can also attend one of the upcoming hearings:
DEC 8 – NJ – 6:30 pm – Nacote Creek Marine Law Enforcement Office, 360 North New York Road, Mile Marker 51, Port Republic, New Jersey
DEC 12 – MA – 5:30pm – Bourne Community Center, 239 Main St, Buzzards Bay
DEC 13 – ME – 6:15 pm – Casco Bay Lines Conference Room, 56 Commercial Street, Portland
DEC 14 – CT – 7pm – CT DEEP Boating Education Center, 333 Ferry Rd, Old Lyme
DEC 15 – NY – 6:30 pm – Freeport Memorial Library, 144 West Merrick Road, Freeport, New York
DEC 19 – RI – 7pm – URI Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road, Narragansett
DEC 20 – MA – 6pm – Thayer Public Library, 798 Washington St, Braintree
Now’s the chance to get behind a plan to conserve Atlantic menhaden and its many predators and the fisheries menhaden support long into the future.
PLEASE CONTACT THE ASMFC TODAY!