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this was posted by watchdog over at tidalfish.......thought ya'll would like to know....


NCMC EMAIL ACTION NETWORK
Striped Bass/Menhaden

1/5/04

ASMFC to Reconsider Menhaden Overfishing

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), responding to the appeals
of conservationists and thousands of east coast anglers, has directed its scientific
advisors to review mounting concerns about the diminished ecological role of Atlantic
menhaden, with emphasis on depletion in Chesapeake Bay. Following this review,
with an opportunity for input from the public, the Commission will consider whether
to begin amending its menhaden fishing regulations when it reconvenes in March.

The ASMFC's Menhaden Management Board, meeting December 17th in New York, heard
testimony from representatives of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation
(NCMC), Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation, Coastal Conservation Association and
Environmental Defense. All four organizations asked the Board to begin the process
of amending the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden to ensure
an adequate supply of forage for striped bass and other predators, as well as to
preserve the menhaden's critical role in cleansing coastal waters of excess nutrients.

The NCMC presented the Commission with a petition signed by thousands of anglers
from Maine to Florida and a 9-page statement summarizing evidence of existing or
pending ecological crisis in Chesapeake Bay and beyond, and suggesting amendments
to the menhaden plan to address these problems.

"The continued high level of menhaden harvest in the Bay, if not curtailed,
could jeopardize the hard-earned recovery of striped bass and other species, while
hindering efforts to clean up the Bay environment," NCMC president Ken Hinman
told fishery managers from twelve east coast states. "The situation practically
cries out for an ecosystem-based approach to management but, although well-intentioned
moves are being made in this direction, the system moves without urgency while we
continue to management without caution."

The NCMC plan outlines four specific changes to menhaden fishing and conservation:

1. Make conserving menhaden as forage for predators and as a filter
feeder of coastal waters the primary plan objective.

2. Expand the FMP's information base to fully describe linkages in the
Chesapeake Bay food web and incorporate the numerous studies supporting
concerns about the diminishing role of menhaden in the ecosystem.

3. Add a definition of "ecosystem overfishing" as an alternative to
traditional single-species overfishing criteria, with appropriate
biological reference points and triggers for action.

4. Establish a conservative, precautionary total allowable catch that
provides a suitable buffer against ecosystem overfishing, with
appropriate measures to control the harvest of forage-size menhaden and
disperse effort away from nursery areas such as Chesapeake Bay.

NCMC is meeting with representatives of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Environmental
Defense, Coastal Conservation Association and Chesapeake Bay Ecological Foundation
on January 7th to plan a coordinated group strategy for the upcoming Menhaden Technical
Committee and Management Board meetings.

Stay tuned.


* * *


THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO ALREADY SIGNED OUR PETITION TO BAN INDUSTRIAL-SCALE MENHADEN
FISHING IN THE CHESAPEAKE BAY. If you haven't already signed the petition, please
do so here:
http://striped-bass-menhaden-list.c.tep1.com/maabO7qaa3lnIa7vCV3b/ to help protect
the
stripers' food supply. Please also consider making a donation, $5 and $10 helps
a great deal!
Your financial support is crucial to our success. You can do so on the petition
page, which
operates on our secure server so all credit card information is protected.

Thank you!

This information is provided by the National Coalition for Marine Conservation.
VISIT US ON THE WEB AT http://striped-bass-menhaden-list.c.tep1.com/maabO7qaa3lnJa7vCV3b/
 
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