(BAR HARBOR, ME)—Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Senior Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement after the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Menhaden Management Board meeting this afternoon. The Board voted to increase the current harvest cap by 6.5 percent for 2017.
"We're disappointed that the Board has voted for a 6.5 percent increase in the menhaden harvest cap for the Atlantic Coast. The most recent stock assessment highlighted issues with overall abundance and no new data has come out to support this increase since the Management Board's decision last year to boost the quota by 10 percent.
"With menhaden still not abundant throughout their geographic range and continued concerns about recruitment in the Chesapeake Bay, staying the course would have helped ensure a healthier menhaden population for all users.
"Most importantly, the ASMFC hasn't yet finished Amendment III to the management plan for the menhaden fishery. This update will more accurately account for menhaden's role as food for striped bass, bluefish, osprey, and other species. The amendment will also revisit how to best allocate the menhaden resource among Atlantic coast states and between the bait and reduction fisheries."