Menhaden Management Decision to Help Rebuild Striped Bass Population

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to improve menhaden management

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted unanimously to improve management strategies for Atlantic menhaden, by requiring consideration for the small baitfish’s impact on fish up the food chain. Sportfish such as striped bass rely on healthy menhaden populations for survival.

After recreational anglers weighed in, the Commission adopted the new ecological management system, which considers the needs of predator species and will begin the process of allowing fish like striped bass to meet population targets. Menhaden is the first fishery on the East Coast to shift to an ecosystem management approach.

The selected model includes important predator species like Atlantic striped bass and bluefish as well as alternative prey such as Atlantic herring. Ultimately, these reference points can be used to set quotas that will help ensure enough menhaden are left in the water to help Atlantic striped bass, bluefish and Atlantic herring rebuild from overfished conditions.

“Today’s decision is a critical step towards acknowledging that forage fish like menhaden are ecologically important to recreationally important species like striped bass and bluefish,” said Mike Leonard, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association. “A healthy Atlantic menhaden stock, and quotas that account for the needs of predators, is the science-based management we look for to help support a healthy ecosystem and the sportfishing opportunities it provides.”

“As recreational anglers, we commend the board for adding this new tool to the tool box which allows for a more holistic approach to managing the coasts most valuable forage fish for striped bass and many other important recreationally caught gamefish species,” said David Sikorski, executive director of Coastal Conservation Association Maryland.

“The implementation of the ecological reference points for Atlantic menhaden represents a significant step in advancing science-based fisheries management,” said Chris Horton, senior director of Fisheries Policy for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “For the first time, we now have a model that can account for the need to leave menhaden in the water for the benefit of other important fisheries and the marine ecosystem as a whole.”

According to a recent scientific study, menhaden reduction fishing contributes to a nearly 30% decline in striped bass numbers. The striped bass fishing industry contributes $7.8 billion in GDP to the economy along the Atlantic coast.


29 on “Menhaden Management Decision to Help Rebuild Striped Bass Population

  1. Peter

    Common sense….fly over schools of menhaden with a spotter plane call in coordinates and take them all …as a child in m
    Mt.Hope Bay, in RI the water would boil with large schools of menhaden those days ended in 1988….hopefully they follow thru

    1. Dan

      Cut Omega reduction catch in half.
      Make Striped bass a game fish on the entire East coast. Problem solved.

  2. Joey

    Lol commercial lobter fisherman mostly use them now instead of herring.
    Their going to be whinning again.

  3. Qui

    Good news to my ears. Let’s see how the numbers change in the next two years. Hopefully a marked increase.

  4. Long Island Angler

    All for efforts to protect/replenish striped bass population, as well as most important bait fish in the Atlantic. Is there a geographic location that this will concentrate on? As the Northeast coast is teeming with bunker. I’ve never had the feeling that there are bass looking for food that just isn’t there. Of course that’s an angler’s perspective.

  5. Hawaiian Dan

    RE: Long Island Angler – Are you considering Long Island as a whole or just your location for a very short period of time? The island has been suffering from a reduced number if bunker for years. 2020 is the first time in years we’ve actually seen a sight come back due to harvesting enforcement. Note the epic striped bass fishing season we’re all having and how the legendary Montauk striped bass fishery is on fire again.

    1. Long Island Angler

      Hawaiian Dan, I fish one day a year, always in the same spot. I can just tell

  6. Dave

    Good luck with that. Large schools of Menhaden usually get trapped in tight spots and die from suffocation. The nature of that fish is to travel around in schools and the bass will be right behind them. With that being said this will cause more harm than good.

  7. sean

    It would be nice for Blue Pet Foods to stop flying over the coast of VA and the chesapeake so we can have a decent fishery again with ample amounts of bait.

  8. John

    “The Most Important Fish in the Sea: Menhaden and America” the best book ever to get a great comprehensive history from the pilgrims until the book was written on Menhaden and how prolific they were, how everything from whales to sharks to stripers and bluefish relied on them with schools 40 miles long as well as how they have been absolutely decimated. Worth a quick read!

  9. Bill McBurney

    The lying government that stocked our lakes with Stripers telling us they could not reproduce should net about 99% of them as they have killed most all of the species that originally thrived in our freshwater lakes.

  10. Donald chambers

    After a long stretch there’s been ample menhaden in and around Boston waters. That being said I attribute it to a lack of draggers around due to the pandemic. A lot of species have increased in amounts since the start of quarantines brought on by the virus. Less people dining out, less places to sell fish. Less places to sell catch less draggers. Just my observation.

  11. Mark Grey

    Rebuild herring latters and no poggy boats in side the bays. Make the raining boats stay outside the main bridges and give the herring and poggies a place to feed the bass and blue fish

  12. Joe

    Agree w Mark Grey. Keep the commercial fishing out of bays and inlets. Gotta limit porgies and even tighter on fluke. Stripers eat everything, not just bunker.

  13. Thomas Cox

    Sick amounts of bunker in jersey. What a joke. Hahahahahahahaha. No bunker on west coast. Stripers were doing great till they dammed everything up. Problem list. 1 overfishing 2 maintaining your precious invasive grass 3 damming of rivers 4 invasive predators like 60,000 annually stocked walleye in Delaware 5 beach replenishment, when was the last time a calico bit your foot? Delusional to think lack of bunker is the problem

  14. Robert

    Good news. We need to prohibit fishing in the Cape Cod canal as too many people just don’t follow the rules and also prohibit the commercial trawlers with large nets that just take everything that they haul in regardless of species or size. Let’s just do it!

  15. Den

    This sounds like a good start. How about some regulation or thinning out of the seals which have grown exponentially and eat 30 lbs of herring a day. They have done a job on The Cape Cod fishery and eastern Long Island Sound.

  16. Ed

    “Today’s decision is a critical step towards acknowledging that forage fish like menhaden are ecologically important to recreationally important species like striped bass and bluefish,”
    They’re stepping towards acknowledging that forage fish are important. Seems like they’re almost getting ready to acknowledge it. But not just yet.

  17. Elrockomonius

    we need to restrain the commercial boats not us anglers. They gulp up mass amounts of our bait fish!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *