A school of menhaden surround a humpback whale in East Hampton, New York.
Plentiful Menhaden A school of menhaden surround a humpback whale in East Hampton, New York. © Sutton Lynch


Decision Advances Sustainability of U.S. Menhaden Fishery

Arlington, VA

The Nature Conservancy released the following statement from Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Scientist Kate Wilke regarding the Secretary of Commerce’s decision to find Virginia out of compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) menhaden fishery management plan:

“We applaud the secretary’s decision to find Virginia out of compliance because it failed to implement the Chesapeake Bay harvest limits that the ASMFC deemed necessary for conservation.

“We expect Virginia lawmakers to act during the upcoming legislative session, which begins in January, to give the state’s Marine Resources Commission appropriate authority to avoid delays in the implementation of ASMFC rules in the future.”

The following statement is from Jay Odell, The Nature Conservancy’s North America fisheries director:

“The secretary’s decision stays the course for ASMFC’s work to establish fishing rules that sustain menhaden fisheries without negative impacts to the diverse array of other fisheries and marine wildlife that depend on this critically important forage species.

“This ruling also serves as a welcome affirmation of ASMFC’s cooperative stewardship model, a state-federal partnership that has successfully managed nearshore fisheries—from Maine to Florida—for more than 75 years.

“We look forward to continued dialogue and collaboration with fishery stakeholders and resource managers to establish sensible fishing rules with annual catch limits that maintain sufficient forage for menhaden predators, such striped bass, osprey and humpback whales.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.