The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) recently scheduled hearings in New York to address the draft Amendment 1 of the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Amendment 1 is designed to help restore the menhaden to former levels of abundance and end ongoing conflicts of interest on the Menhaden Management Board, which is currently controlled by the commercial menhaden industry.
The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) has been working for more than two years to convince ASMFC to manage menhaden, one of the most important forage fish on the eastern seaboard, in the same manner as it manages other species. Menhaden have historically been managed by a Menhaden Management Board largely comprised of members of the commercial menhaden industry. Selected by the management board and dominated by industry representatives, the Atlantic Menhaden Advisory Committee determines the health of the stock. Independent scientists have little input in the management picture.
Amendment 1 offers the possibility of revamping the menhaden management system, and includes an option to establish a management board comprised of fishery professionals and state appointees and a technical committee of qualified scientists. It would also relegate industry representatives to an advisory panel, where they would share their advisory duties with others concerned about Atlantic menhaden conservation and management.
For more information or a complete copy of the draft Amendment 1, contact John McMurray at CCA-NY, PO Box 1118, West Babylon, NY 11704; 877-982-2269; or visit www.asmfc.org.