Make Your Voice Heard on Atlantic Menhaden Regulations

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Decision day is upon us. Now it’s time to weigh in.

On December 14th, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will finally decide how much to cut the allowable harvest of Atlantic menhaden — a forage fish that has been overexploited by the commercial fishing industry for half a century.

Almost one year ago, in November 2011, the ASMFC resolved that in order to end overfishing, the Commission had to limit the amount of fish that commercial netters could harvest and sell.

This December, at a special meeting of the Menhaden Management Board in Baltimore, the ASMFC will finally set that limit. Options include reducing catches by 10 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent, or 50 percent.

The ASMFC will also agree on a timeline for achieving the cutback, and Commissioners will make a decision about how to allocate the fishery between Omega Protein, the industrial-scale processor of menhaden, and the smaller bait fishery which supplies menhaden to lobstermen, crabbers, and bait and tackle shops.

Choices, choices, choices!

The public now has the opportunity to comment on draft of Amendment II, and all the options that comprise it. The draft can be found here.

Public hearings will be held up and down the East coast during October and November in most Atlantic states, in order to solicit opinions from fishermen, conservationists, and coastal residents. To find the hearing closest to you, see the list below. (For a sense of what hearings are like, check out our live blogsfrom last year’s round).

Can’t attend a public hearing? Submit your comments to Mike Waine, of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, at mwaine@asmfc.org.

When we have the details of the December 14th meeting, we will post an update!

Maine Department of Marine Resources

October 17, 2012; 5 PM

Casco Bay Lines Conference Room

56 Commercial Street

Portland, Maine

Contact: Terry Stockwell at 207.624.6553

 

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

October 15, 2012; 7 PM

Urban Forestry Center

45 Elwyn Road

Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Contact: Doug Grout at 603.868.1095

 

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

October 16, 2012; 5:30 PM

Joseph Bourne Public Library

19 Sandwich Road

Bourne, Massachusetts

Contact: David Pierce at 617.626.1532

 

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife

November 12012; 6 PM

University of Rhode Island Bay Campus

Corless Auditorium

South Ferry Road

Narragansett Rhode Island

Contact: Jason McNamee at 401.423.1943

 

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

October 16, 2012; 7 PM

DEEP Marine Headquarters

Boating Education Center

333 Ferry Road

Old Lyme, Connecticut

Contact: David Simpson 860.434.6043

 

October 18, 2012; 3 PM

Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture Science &
Technology Center

60 St. Stevens Road

Bridgeport, Connecticut

Contact: David Simpson 860.434.6043

 

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

November 1, 2012; 6:30 PM

Marine Resources Headquarters

205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1

East Setauket, New York

Contact: Steve Heins at 631.444.0430

 

New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife

November 1, 2012; 7 PM

Atlantic County Library, Galloway Township

306 East Jimmie Leeds Road

Galloway, New Jersey

Contact: Peter Himchak at 609.748.2020

 

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

October 29, 2012; 7 PM

DNREC Auditorium

89 Kings Highway

Dover, Delaware

Contact: John Clark at 302.739.9914

 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

October 30, 2012; 6 – 9 PM

Easton Armory

7111 Ocean Gateway (Route 50)

Easton, Maryland

Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

 

November 1, 2012; 6 – 9 PM

Northeast Community Center

4075 Gordon Stinnett Avenue

Chesapeake Beach, Maryland

Contact: Lynn Fegley at 410.260.8285

 

Potomac River Fisheries Commission

October 29, 2012; 6 PM

222 Taylor Street

Colonial Beach, Virginia

Contact: AC Carpenter at 804.224.7148

 

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

October 15, 2012; 6 PM                      

VMRC Headquarters, 4th Floor

2600 Washington Avenue

Newport News, Virginia

Contact:  Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247

 

October 18, 2012; 6 – 9 PM

Lancaster Middle School Auditorium

191 School Street

Kilmarnock, Virginia

Contact: Rob O’Reilly at 757.247.2247

 

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

October 18, 2012; 6 PM

Central District Office Building

5285 Highway 70 West

Morehead City, NC 28557

Contact: Trish Murphey at 252.726.7021