Atlantic States Approve Menhaden Harvest Reduction

Last week, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Atlantic Menhaden Management Board voted to reduce the Atlantic menhaden quota by 10 percent, establishing a quota of 194,400 metric tons for the 2021 and 2022 fishing years.

Atlantic menhaden are a primary food source for numerous sportfish populations, especially striped bass.

The harvest reduction comes in response to a recent fundamental shift in Atlantic menhaden management. In August, ASMFC unanimously adopted a new ecological management system — which considers the needs of predator species and is set up to help rebuild the striped bass population. Last week’s decision on menhaden is especially important to the recreational angling and boating community because it represents a follow through on the commitment by ASMFC to implement this new ecological management system.

“Implementing responsible conservation practices across all fisheries is essential to the long-term wellbeing of marine ecosystems and we appreciate this decision to help rebuild the striped bass population,” said Nicole Vasilaros, NMMA senior vice president of government and legal affairs. “While we recognize additional work will be needed, healthy and sustainable menhaden and sportfish stocks are critically important to the recreational boating and fishing community and this decision is an important step toward protecting and rebuilding both of these critical populations.”

striped bass

Several recreational fishing and boating organizations — including NMMA— recently sent a letter to ASMFC urging the adoption of a conservative coast-wide total allowable catch that will help rebuild the iconic striped bass fishery.

NMMA will continue to monitor the progress of these efforts. For more information, please contact NMMA director of federal government relations, Clay Crabtree at [email protected].