Better Management Eyed for Menhaden
by Laurie Schreiber
At one time, a little fish called menhaden was so plentiful that schools of them would cover a square half-mile of ocean, providing a bounty for the predator fish that leapt among them.
Terry Gibson, a charterboat operator in Florida, recalled the scene from his childhood. Nowadays, he said, schools of menhaden might fill 20 or 30 square yards, if that.
“Kids now think that that’s a big school of menhaden. It’s not,” he said. “It’s a story that’s played out from Maine to Key West. They’re disappearing.”
Gibson was one of the speakers during a telephone conference earlier this month, regarding the management of the menhaden fishery. The conference was held in conjunction with the latest meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which subsequently approved new management measures aimed at boosting the abundance of menhaden and its spawning stock biomass.