Action Request- Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3

© 2017 David Shupp

The Most Important Fish In The Sea Needs Your Help!

Menhaden one of the ocean’s most valuable forage fish, are a primary food source for wild striped bass and without them there will be dire consequences for their entire ecosystem. Because of past over-harvesting, species like striped bass that normally feed on menhaden have displayed symptoms of malnourishment and disease.

Menhaden have regularly been overfished during the past 55 years according to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the regulatory agency in charge of managing them. Menhaden are being regulated as a single species with little regard for their interdependent value within their ecosystem. That is about to change…..with your help. NOAA is pushing for current single species management models to transition over to ecosystem- based management (EBM) protocols.

The goal of EBM is to recognize species interdependency and maintain ecosystems in a healthy, productive and resilient condition. As a regulatory commission the ASMFC is asking for your input on how best to implement this effort. With the help of professional volunteers that have many years of fisheries oversight, we have made it simple and easy for you to participate. Below we have outlined the considered options that we feel will be best for Menhaden, wild Striped Bass and their entire shared ecosystem.

Your comments will have more impact if you do not mention being a member of any specific organization.  Please use your own words when expressing your option choices.

Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 20, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A‐N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX)

Please send your email to: with the Subject line: Draft Amd. 3
A PDF version of the press release can be found here- Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3 Revised

  • 2.6.4 Definition of Overfishing and Overfished/Depleted
    • Option C: BERP Workgroup Continues to Develop Menhaden-Specific ERPs with Interim use of Pikitch et al. Reference Points
  • 4.3.2 Quota Allocation
    • Option F: Allocation based on TAC levels
    • Sub-option 1
  • 4.3.4 Quota Rollovers
    • Option A: Unused Quota May Not Be Rolled Over
  • 4.3.5 Incidental Catch and Small Scale Fisheries
    • Option F: All Catch Included in TAC
  • ​​​​​​​4.3.6 Episodic Events Set Aside Program​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
    • ​​​​​​​Option C: 0% of TAC is Set Aside
  • 4.3.7 Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap
    • ​​​​​​​Option B; Cap Set At 51,000 mt
    • Sub-Option B: No Rollover of Unused Cap Permitted.

States Schedule Hearings on Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3

Arlington, VA – The Atlantic coastal states of Maine through Florida have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The details of those hearings follow.

Maine Dept. of Marine Resources

October 5, 2017; 6 PM

Yarmouth Town Hall

200 Main Street

Yarmouth, ME

Contact: Pat Keliher at 207.624.6553


New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

October 3, 2017; 7 PM

Urban Forestry Center

45 Elwyn Road

Portsmouth, NH

Contact: Cheri Patterson at 603.868.1095


Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

October 2, 2017; 6 PM

Thayer Public Library, Logan Auditorium

798 Washington Street

Braintree, MA

Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617.626.1531


October 5, 2017; 6 PM

Bourne Community Center, Room 2

239 Main Street

Buzzards Bay, MA

Contact: Nichola Meserve at 617.626.1531


Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife

October 4, 2017; 6 PM

University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Corless Auditorium, South Ferry Road

Narragansett, RI

Contact: Robert Ballou at 401.222.4700 ext: 4420


Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

September 11, 2017; 7 PM

CT DEEP Boating Education Center

333 Ferry Road

Old Lyme, CT

Contact: Mark Alexander at 860.447.4322


New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation

September 12, 2017; 6 PM

NYSDEC Division of Marine Resources

205 N. Belle Mead Road

East Setauket, NY

Contact: Jim Gilmore at 631.444.0430


New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife

September 13, 2017; 6 PM

Manahawkin (Stafford Township) Courtroom

260 East Bay Avenue

Manahawkin, NJ

Contact: Russ Allen at 609.748.2020


Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife

September 14, 2017; 6 PM

DNREC Auditorium

89 Kings Highway

Dover, DE

Contact: John Clark at 302.739.9914


Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

September 18, 2017; 6 PM

Anne Arundel Community College

Cade Center for the Fine Arts – Room 219

101 College Parkway

Arnold, MD

Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285


Potomac River Fisheries Commission

September 19, 2017; 6 PM

Carpenter Building

222 Taylor Street

Colonial Beach, VA

Contact: Martin Gary at 804.456.6935


Virginia Marine Resources Commission

September 20, 2017; 6 PM

Northumberland High School

201 Academic Lane

Heathsville, VA

Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247


September 21, 2017; 6 PM

2600 Washington Avenue, 4th Floor

Newport News, VA

Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247


North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

September 27, 2017; 6 PM

Central District Office

5285 US Highway 70 West

Morehead City, NC

Contact: Michelle Duval at 252.808.8013


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

September 26, 2017; 6 PM

Town of Melbourne Beach Community Center

507 Ocean Avenue

Melbourne Beach, FL

Contact: Jim Estes at 850.617.9622


Draft Amendment 3 seeks to manage the menhaden resource in a way that balances menhaden’s ecological role as a prey species with the needs of all user groups. To this end, the Draft Amendment considers the use of ecosystem reference points (ERPs) to manage the resource and changes to the allocation method. In addition, it presents a suite of management options for quota transfers, quota rollovers, incidental catch, the episodic events set aside program, and the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery cap.

The 2015 Benchmark Stock Assessment Report identified the development of ERPs as a high priority for Atlantic menhaden management. Menhaden serve an important role in the marine ecosystem as prey for a variety of species including larger fish (e.g. weakfish, striped bass), birds (e.g. bald eagles, osprey), and marine mammals (e.g. humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins). As a result, changes in the abundance of menhaden may impact the abundance and diversity of predator populations, particularly if the availability of other prey is limited. ERPs provide a method to assess the status of menhaden within the broad ecosystem context. Draft Amendment 3 provides a variety of reference point options, including the continued development of menhaden-specific ERPs as well as the application of precautionary guidelines for forage fish species.

Draft Amendment 3 also considers changes to the allocation method given concerns that the current approach may not strike an appropriate balance between gear types and jurisdictions. Specifically, under the current allocation method, increases in the total allowable catch (TAC) result in limited benefits to small-scale fisheries, and to several states. Furthermore, the current method may not provide a balance between the present needs of the fishery and future growth opportunities. Draft Amendment 3 considers a range of allocation alternatives, including a dispositional quota (bait vs. reduction), fleet-capacity quota (quota divided by gear type), jurisdictional quota, including a fixed minimum quota for each state, and an allocation method based on the TAC. In addition, the document considers five allocation timeframes including 2009-2011, 2012-2016, 1985-2016, 1985-1995, and a weighted approached which considers both historic and recent landings.

The Draft Amendment is available at or on the Commission website,, under Public Input. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft Amendment either by attending state public hearings or providing written comment. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM (EST) on October 20, 2017 and should be forwarded to Megan Ware, FMP Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or at line: Draft Amd. 3). If your organization is planning to release an action alert in response to Draft Amendment 3, please contact Megan Ware at 703.842.0740, so she can work with you to develop a unique subject line to enable us to better organize and summarize incoming comments for Board review.

Final action on the Amendment, as well as specification of the 2018 TAC, is scheduled to occur on November 13 & 14  at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum, MD. For more information, please contact Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at or 703.842.0740.

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