Unprotected: a Timeline of Inaction on the Most Important Fish in the Sea

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Unprotected: a Menhaden Timeline

Menhaden has been called “the most important fish in the sea,” because it forms the base of the Atlantic food web, providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner for important marine predators. But it is also an anomaly in Atlantic fishery management. Despite 30 years of scientific evidence pointing to the decline of menhaden, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has never taken action to reduce the commercial menhaden fishery. Marine animals from the smallest of zooplankton to the largest humpback whales have been affected by the loss of menhaden. This timeline depicts 30 years of science that kept on building….and building…and building…

Until now. This Friday, the ASMFC will vote on whether to cut back the commercial menhaden harvest, leaving more fish in the sea for marine predators to thrive. The big vote awaits. In the meantime, click on our timeline below for a snapshot (or several) of how far we have come.

Unprotected: a Menhaden Timeline