New fishery management benchmarks for Atlantic menhaden were established today in an effort to increase its population to four times the current size. The measure was adopted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the interstate body that governs the menhaden fishery.
During its meeting today, the ASMFC set more conservative fishing standards to help menhaden stocks recover. The fishery, the largest on the East Coast by weight, has exceeded the designated "safe fishing target" every year since 1960. As a result, the population is at less than 10 percent of historic levels.
About three-quarters of the Atlantic menhaden catch comes from the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding ocean waters. Most of these fish are reduced for fish meal and oil.