Fish Talk: Coastal States Schedule Hearings on Atlantic Menhaden

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Thirteen states along the coast have scheduled public hearings in March and April to solicit comments on possible changes to the way the Atlantic menhaden fishery is regulated.

Back in November 2011, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), the agency that regulates marine species in state waters, voted to reduce the amount of menhaden that can be harvested from Atlantic waters.

The ASMFC set new target and threshold reference points for the fishery that will necessitate a reduction in the allowable harvest, leaving more menhaden in the water to provide forage for important predators like striped bass and bluefish. At the same time, the ASMFC initiated the development of a new Amendment to the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden, which will outline the how the harvest will be reduced, and the timeline for these changes.

A first step in the development of the new addendum is for citizens to comment on the Public Information Document (PID), which outlines potential management measures and options for a timeline to achieve the new reference points.

The PID also seeks comments on a “more timely and comprehensive catch reporting system,” according to an ASMFC press release.

Get Involved!

Reading the PID here, and attending a public hearing in your state is a great way to stay involved in the Atlantic menhaden conservation effort.

You can also send comments to the ASMFC electronically or by mail. The deadline for comments is 5:00 PM (EST) on April 20, 2012 and should be forwarded to Mike Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St., Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or (Subject line: Menhaden PID).

Public Hearing Schedule:

Maine Department of Marine Resources
April 4, 2012; 6 – 9 PM
Casco Bay Lines Conference Room
56 Commercial Street
Portland, Maine
Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

New Hampshire Fish and Game
April 3, 2012; 7 – 9 PM
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwyn Road
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
April 2, 2012; 6 PM
Plymouth Public Library
Otto Fehlow Room
132 South Street
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Contact: David Pierce at 617-626-1532

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife
March 28, 2012; 6 PM
URI Narragansett Bay Campus, Corless Auditorium
South Ferry Road
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Contact: Jason McNamee at 401.423.1943

New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
March 27, 2012; 7 PM
Marine Resources Headquarters
205 North Belle Mead Rd, Suite 1
East Setauket, New York
Contact: Steve Heins at 631.444.0435

New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife
April 5, 2012; 7- 10 PM
Ocean County Administration Building
101 Hooper Avenue
Public Hearing Room #119
Toms River, New Jersey
Contact: Peter Himchak 609.748.2020

Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources & Environmental Control
March 28, 2012; 6 – 8 PM
Lewes Field Facility
901 Pilottown Road
Lewes, Delaware
Contact: John Clark at 302.739.9914

Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources
March 19, 2012; 6 PM
Easton High School Cafeteria
723 Mecklenburg Avenue
Easton, Maryland
Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

Virginia Marine Resources Commission
March 22, 2012; 6 PM
2600 Washington Avenue, Fourth Floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead at 757.247.2247

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries 
March 27, 2012; 6 PM
NC Division of Marine Fisheries
Central District Office
5285 Highway 70 West
Morehead City, North Carolina
Contact: Trish Murphy at 252.808.8091

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 
March 30, 2012; 10 AM
Marine Advisory Council Meeting
217 Fort Johnson Road
Charleston, South Carolina
Contact: Mel Bell at 843.953.9007

Georgia Coastal Resources Division
March 29, 2012; 5 – 7 PM
Richmond Hill City Center (located in Gregory Park)
520 Cedar Street
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Contact: Doug Haymans at 912.264.7218