Photo from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation
The fishing has been sucking. Here’s a chance where we can all actually do something about it. Rather than mince words, I’ll paste them directly from a mailing by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:
In a matter of days, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will meet to discuss the fate of menhaden (AKA the most important fish in the sea). At the end of that meeting, it will adopt an addendum to its menhaden management plan, which will determine new overfishing thresholds and target fishing rates.
Now, more than ever, we need your help. In 32 of the past 54 years, we have overfished menhaden, and its population now stands at its lowest point on record—a mere 8 percent of what it once was!
But, we have an historic opportunity to rebuild the population of this important fish, which represents a critical link in the marine food web of the entire Atlantic coast, especially the Chesapeake Bay. Please write ASMFC today and urge the commission to set new targets that will allow the menhaden population to increase to a point where it can support a fishery and fulfill its vital ecological role. Please submit your letters by 5 p.m. November 2, 2011, in order for them to be considered.
If we don’t speak up now, this fish, so critical to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and the human community that it supports, could be lost forever.
The striped bass of the Chesapeake, and therefore the Eastern Seaboard, got a dose of good news this week with a big spike in the Young of the Year numbers.
I spoke briefly with my friend John Page Williams of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation about it, and he said it has everything to do with ideal weather conditions during spawn and early life stage.
Of course, the best news for the striped bass in the long run could come out of the ASMFC meeting in Boston in two weeks. Williams and his friends in the CCA and other conservation groups have been working hard to ensure that the result comes down in favor of protecting the bass. “It looks to be a landmark vote,” said John Page.
Also of paramount importance is what happens to the menhaden. The ASMFC has to vote on whether to raise the population threshold from eight percent to 15 percent, as explained in this article from the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Midcurrent also lays it out in detail here, with a link on how to write your local ASMFC rep about it. (Here is the direct link to the state by state directory.)
Here’s a chart that shows why you need to write.
The steep decline
from the CBF blog
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation reports on its blog about the opportunity to change the menhaden management plan for the better.
The post again sheds light on the extreme harvest practices of Omega Protein, a company that should be on the enemies list of all recreational fishermen.