ASMFC Seeking Comment on Atlantic Menhaden FMP

Photo by Brian Gratwicke.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is seeking public input on Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Menhaden.

Amendment 3 was initiated in 2015 to address several concerns in the fishery, including the adoption of ecological reference points (ERPs) and a new quota allocation scheme. The ERPs are meant to account for changes in the abundance of prey and predator species when setting overfished and overfishing thresholds for menhaden. The Atlantic Menhaden Management Board is also investigating various allocation scenarios, given concerns that the current method does not provide equitable access to all gear types, jurisdictions, and regions.

An important part of this amendment is the reallocation among the states. This reallocation will decide what percentage of the total allowable catch is given to each state.

Atlantic Menhaden are currently managed under Amendment 2, approved in 2012, which established a 170,800 metric ton total allowable catch (TAC) in response to the 2011 benchmark stock assessment.  That stock assessment found that menhaden were experiencing overfishing. Based on the 2017 Stock Assessment Update, Atlantic Menhaden are neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing.

The ASMFC is developing an ecosystem-based model that will manage menhaden for its important role as a forage species; but it will take a minimum of five years before that ecosystem-based approach is fully implemented.

Comments on Amendment 3 may be submitted in person at a public hearing or by mailing, faxing, or emailing written comments to the address below.

Mail: Megan Ware
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (Subject: Draft Amd. 3)
1050 N. Highland Street, Suite 200 A-N
Arlington VA. 22201
Fax:  703.842.0741
Email: [email protected]

Comments must be received by 5:00 PM EDT on October 20, 2017.

The Atlantic Menhaden Management Board is scheduled to take final action on Amendment 3 in November 2017 after taking public comments into account.

Recent Literature:

Evaluating ecosystem-based reference points for Atlantic Menhaden, by Andre Buchheister, Thomas J. Miller, and Edward D. Houde. Marine and Coastal Fisheries, July 2017 (open access).