ASMFC meeting on Menhaden May 5th
From David Sikorski, CCA MD….
400 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, VA 22314
Menhaden are one of the two most important keystone species in the bay. What right does one company have to harvest over 300,000,000 lbs per year from a very small area while completely choking off a neighboring state from a much needed supply of menhaden? Maryland has long suffered from this harvest. Striped bass are sick and dying from a wasting disease that is directly linked to the lack of menhaden. Weakfish have disappeared. All signs point to the fact that juvenile weakfish have become a primary prey item as a replacement for menhaden. Flounder, large bluefish, and countless other species no longer enter the bay. Fishermen in the state have almost forgotten the days when they could pursue other species. The blame game has been going on for years. One thing has remained constant. Too many menhaden are being removed in Virginia and not enough are making it to Maryland waters. Fish don’t come here anymore because there isn’t anything to eat. The ones that are here are sick and starving. If you aren’t from Maryland, maybe this isn’t resonating yet. Give it a few years and you will see the same thing as we are your nursery. If 70% of our stripers have a wasting disease from lack of menhaden, then how do you think that will impact the fishing in New Jersey, New York, and other Northern states? Just ask yourself one simple question. “How can removing over 300,000,000lbs of forage fish from a nursery be a good thing?” Kind of hard to justify that.
On May 5, there will be an attack on menhaden quotas at the ASMFC meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. In the nutshell, Omega hired a high level biologist from South Africa to sprinkle some fairy dust on a stock assessment. Miraculously, there are massive stocks of menhaden not discovered until recently….
What we are asking is simple. Find a way to get to the meeting on May 5. This is a rare opportunity for a normal citizen to have a direct impact on how our fisheries are managed. It is your chance to make a difference. We will have buses leaving from several areas including Annapolis, the Eastern Shore, and Virginia. If we can fill the room, we can save millions of fish. If we don’t, things are going to get worse (if that’s possible) very quickly.
We will update this page with bus information. If you plan to attend please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Menhaden are not just improtant for feedingpredatory fsh but also inhelpng keep estuaries clean as they are filter feeders. If you can not attend this meeting I urge you to at least email John Clark our ASMFC representative about your concerns for saving this necessary species. John.Clark@state.de.us