The Commissioners of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Atlantic Menhaden Management Board voted in favour of maintaining the way it manages the species.
The decision was welcomed by the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition (MFC) because it considers it is taking into account the best scientific information available to set menhaden reference points.
As part of Amendment 3 to the Atlantic Menhaden Intestate Fishery Management Plan (FMP), the Commission decided to continue with the current management measures for the species until its biological ecological reference points (BERP) workgroup finishes developing menhaden-specific ecological reference points (ERPs).
These ERPs are supported by the MFC, and would manage menhaden based on its role in the ecosystem as forage for predator species.
The best science shows that managing forage fish according to general biological principals, as advocated by various environmental and sportfishing groups, is not the correct approach.
The amendment also addresses a suite of commercial management measures including allocation, quota transfers, quota rollovers, incidental catch, the episodic events set aside program, and the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery cap.
In addition to its Amendment 3 deliberations, the Board set the total allowable catch for the 2018 and 2019 fishing seasons at 216,000 metric tons with the expectation that the setting of the TAC for subsequent years will be guided by menhaden-specific ecological reference points.
Source: FIS // Original Article