While things didn’t work out like we hoped they would, there is reason for hope…
Having spent the last two days at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Menhaden Management Board meeting, we are of course disappointed at the outcome.
While we’ve written about menhaden A LOT during the weeks prior to such meeting, in the case you’re not up to speed, the ASMFC Menhaden Management Board met Monday and Tuesday of this week to finalize Amendment 3 to the Menhaden Fishery Management Plan and to set quota specifications for 2018.
There were a number of issues being considered in Amendment 3, but there were two major ones. The first and clearly the most important to anglers, was the decision whether or not to implement ecological reference points for menhaden (i.e managing menhaden for their critical role as prey, rather than simply for extraction), now, in several years, or never.
The second was to revisit an inherently unfair state by state allocation system that gives one remaining large-scale extractive user rights to over 80% of a public resource.
Here’s what went down.
Ecological reference points
On day one, “ecological reference points” was the first thing on the agenda.
If you are a regular reader here, you likely know that the recreational fishing community has been supporting “Option E”. Such option would have put into effect an “interim” rule that theoretically compelled the Menhaden Management Board (the Board) to manage menhaden with the goal of achieving 75% of a virgin (read unfished) biomass, so that sufficient prey would be around for striped bass, whales, sharks etc… While 75% is the goal, no corrective management measures would be required unless stock abundance dropped below 40% of a virgin stock.