Atlantic Menhaden Live Blog


8:10:00 AM - Menhaden management board has begun! Board is now taking public comment. Jim Price of the CB Ecological Fdn and Bob Geisler have spoken.

8:10:40 AM – Price talked about the importance of menhaden to the long-term health of striped bass, favored species among anglers + the ocean’s cash cow

8:11:33 AM – Bob Geisler, of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfisherman’s Assoc: importance of juvenile menhaden. Bait and charter bizs up and down coast.

8:12:43 AM – Louis Daniel, chair of menhaden board, reminds everyone to look at memo from Omega Protein, largest industrial harvester of #menhaden

8:16:11 AM – Here at #
, listening to a Technical Committee presentation on #
, “the most important fish in the sea”

8:21:55 AM – Jeff Brust, NJ rep to Technical Committee (TC) reminds the board that back in May 2010, the board asked TC to develop eco reference points

8:23:12 AM – Ecological reference points would account for the forage needs of #
to some extent, depending on what species are included

8:25:43 AM – But the TC says to board: we need more a management directive! For example, tell us what species to include in research about new ref pts

8:26:52 AM – Also, TC says: what is your desired increase in forage availability? That is a management not a science decision. You need to tell us.

8:27:20 AM – Since discussion of new eco ref points years ago, board has never given the TC direction on it. So the TC, working hard on #
, says:

8:28:55 AM – Either take the task away from us, or we move ahead w/ trial and error. If 2nd, it would likely not make thru peer review. #

8:30:23 AM – Best option: Board develops management objectives on #
and the scientists get to work with those parameters.

8:33:33 AM – Brust: We have benchmark stock assessment due in 2015. Most efficient way is to go thru peer review at the same time on eco ref points

8:35:38 AM – Scientists on the TC say: You want new ref points on menhaden that take account of predators, we need money! $150 – 200,000

8:37:16 AM – Pat Augustine, NY: Groups in the audience, they should either step up to the plate or we’re going to have to take another approach.

8:39:16 AM – Pete Himchak, NJ: We’ve been doing single species manag. for yrs. Are these proposed eco ref points ecosystem management? I don’t think so.

8:42:47 AM – Himchak: We’re asking the TC to manage #
for a multitude of species as predators. Different than menhaden as component in ecosystem.

8:44:22 AM – Brust: What we are proposing is more than single species managmenet, that is the bottom line. #

8:45:33 AM – David Pierce, MA: Move that the board use MODA for ecological ref point development as recommended by the #
TC. #

8:46:29 AM – Ritchie White, NH: To go forward with something that is not going to pass peer review makes no sense. Critical to have defensible science.

8:48:44 AM – Brust: Stakeholders are involved w/ process, not relegated to public comment. Industry, rec, managers, enviros together on working group

8:50:01 AM – Pat Augustine: Should we stop managing striped bass? Stop managing eel? We need money to do this. Interest groups, step up and give us some

8:51:23 AM – Daniel: I don’t have strong comfort level on current interim ref pts. How to explain to public that we are overfishing but not overfished?

8:55:12 AM – Louis Daniel NC: The questions that TC is asking are fair q’s, but who can figure out if we include dogish, king mackerel? Who knows answer

8:57:19 AM – Grout, NH: Question for TC: What are the major predators? Who are the stakeholders we are going to include, who are we going to exclude?

8:59:55 AM – Grout: This is more policy based ref points rather than eco ref points. Difficulty supporting this til we flesh out who we are including

9:01:00 AM – Louis Daniel: Either we accept motion on the floor or take eco ref points off the table. That’s where we’re headed.

9:04:12 AM – Travelstead: I don’t object to the motion, but how to find money. ASMFC Staff? Comment on the likelihood of where we’re going to find this?

9:06:15 AM – Bob Beale, ASMFC:300,000 not easy to come by. Commission’s budget under Atlantic Coastal Act may be down up to a million dollars next yr

9:09:28 AM – Fote: Peer review process based on science rather than feelings. Take passion out. We’re making comm/rec fishermen suffer — it’s a crime

9:10:54 AM – Jamie Geiger, FWS: This is the right thing for the board to do. When we started to recover striped bass ’80s, the money wasn’t there.

9:12:00 AM – Geiger: That didn’t stop the board from stepping up and doing the right thing. That’s called leadership.

9:12:38 AM – Geiger: This is the right time for the board to step up and initiate ecosystem based ref points.

9:13:32 AM – Dave Simpson, CT: I’m opposed to the motion. Are we going to change our entire approach to fisheries management to a policy based one?

9:13:50 AM – Simpson: Are we really going to consider changing all of our ref points for all the other species we manage? All through menhaden board?

9:14:33 AM – Rep Sarah Peake. MA: hate us to make the excuse of the checkbook not to make the right policy decision today.

9:15:34 AM – Roy Miller: We’ve been down this road with other species. W/ horseshoecrab, made overtures to industry and to eco orgs. Industry stepped up.

9:16:22 AM – Nowalski, NJ: table this motion until the august meeting and charge the TC and staff to research alternative funding options.

9:17:01 AM – Brust: The longer we table this the less likely the TC will make the 2015 benchmark stock assessment deadline with eco ref points

9:17:52 AM – Lynn Fegley, MD: Could we amend the motion to say that this process won’t go forward if funding is not found.

9:20:42 AM – Debates on funding here at #
. The #
board is thinking about whether to initiate costly ecosystem ref points. Heating up here!

9:25:15 AM – “Motion to postpone the motion until the August mtg and charge the TC and staff to research alternative funding for the MODA project.”

9:27:12 AM – Voting yes (as far as I can see): CT, VA. Voting No: FWS, MA, MD, ME, RI, NJ

9:28:32 AM – #
board has made a “Motion to amend the main motion to add ‘subject to appropriate funding to be determined by the August meeting.’

9:31:00 AM- Brust, TC scientist: We need workshops, info from the board. We’ll need 2 yrs. Workshops, test things, back to working groups.

9:31:56 AM – Brust: Some things can be done before the $$, such as constituting the working group.

9:32:44 AM – Daniel: If motion carries, then the board is endorsing the MODA approach. At August mtg we need to come up w/ list of species to support

9:33:01 AM – Geiger: If we don’t vote to do this, we’ll be kicking the can down the road to avoid trying to do the right thing. #

9:33:40 AM – Amended motion reaches a vote #
: Only opposing parties: FWS (Geiger), maine, rhode island.

9:34:16 AM – Main motion: Move that the board use MODA for eco ref point develoment as recmd by TC, subject to funding be determined by the August mtg.

9:37:54 AM – Vote on main motion: CT opposes.

9:41:22 AM – Daniel: Concerns with ecosystem management: no detailed diet studies for many fisheries. Majority we deal w/ are opportunistic predators.

9:44:34 AM – Mark Gibson, RI: Willing to come forward w/ my objectives, but not going to be list of predators. We need clarity on what to bring in August

9:47:23 AM – Lynn Fegley: In my mind, this MODA approach would be used to evaluate tradeoffs on things we can model now — the multispecies VPA.

10:02:43 AM – The Public Information Document put out by the #
board received 22,000 public comments on various management aspects

10:03:18 AM – Over 20,000 comments favored removing the 10 year time frame for implementing new ref points and cutting #

10:03:45 AM – Many also recommended removing the one year timeline for implementation.

10:04:23 AM – 21,000 suggested quotas to manage the commercial fishery. #

10:07:39 AM – Advisory Panel report: not a ton of consensus on commercial fishery management options. Consensus on keeping season closures.

10:13:44 AM – Jack Travelstead: We should be cautious about eliminating options from the document right now. we can’t predict outcome of science

10:16:12 AM – Brust: Timing of new stock assessment has no play in this, other than assessment of what fishing mortality rate is. #

10:19:00 AM – Brust: The numbers are old, we have some uncertainty since 2008. Right now we’re projecting what has happened between 2008 and 2012 #

10:22:29 AM: Louis Daniel: Given that F in 2008 is 2.28 that exceeds fishing mortality threshold. We’ve got to take steps to reduce F to the target level

10:22:42 AM: Daniel: Is it prudent to consider meeting the threshold first and then the target? Go to the threshold first and then the target?

10:24:04 AM: Augustine: We are again kicking the can down the road. I only want to talk about the timeline for achieving target. 1, 3, 5 yrs appropriate

10:32:41 AM: Travelstead, VA: We had over 1,000 public comments in support of keeping the ten year option in.

10:33:46 AM: Carpenter, PRFC: 10 yr timeframe for target be left in there, not threshold. Stockwell, ME: Support inclusion of 10 yr target option.

10:38:39 AM: Goldsborough: 10 yrs jumps out at me. What amendment 1 says is that we immediately have to take steps to eliminate fishing and get to target

10:39:06 AM: Goldsborough: We should achieve the threshold in first year and be prompt in achieving the target.

10:39:27 AM: Goldsborough, Otherwise, we ustifiably open this commission up to the same kind of criticism on inaction. #menhaden #asmfc12

10:40:18 AM: Himchak, NJ: With the threshold, we could be going from 8 percent to 15 pecent — that’s a more restrictive ref point anyway.

10:42:00 AM: Dennis Abbott: Dennis: No problem with the motion, it would be my intention to come back and remove the 10 yr timeframe.

10:42:49 AM: Erica Fuller, Herring Alliance: Any proposed 10 year step down approach is not analogous to 10 yr rebuilding plan under Magnuson.

10:43:13 AM: Fuller: Incorrect to use one as rationale fo the other. Law requires that this occur in as short a time as possible. 10 yrs outside limit

10:43:28 AM: Fuller: Menhaden does not have defined biomass ref points and does not have a rebuilding plan. We support the three year option for target.

10:44:39 AM: Fuller: We’re in favor of removing 10 year schedule. ASMFC has mandatory duty to reduce overfishing and end when it occurs. Manage to target

10:45:11 AM: David Pierce, MA: It looks stupid to go back to public comment with the same suite of options. It looks stupid. 3 and 5 makes sense.

10:45:54 AM: Commissioners have voted on removing 1 year time frame and 10 year timeframe. But procedural questions make it unclear what they voted.

10:46:18 AM: Daniel: We now have 3, 5, and 10 years now as the options for reaching the target. Is everybody happy?

10:46:37 AM: Augustine: Makes a motion that only 3 and 5 years remain.

10:47:12 AM: Daniel: We just had a motion to remove the ten years. We rejected that notion. So we’re done.

10:49:01 AM: Daniel: There was a lot of interest in removing 10 years from the table. But the vote was tied. 8 to 8. That’s it. The motion failed.

10:54:01 AM: Daniel, NC: So what now? Will we wait and see what 15 percent actually achieves in terms of recruitment?

10:54:16 AM: Daniel: We may reduce the fishery so much but the stock-recruitment relationship is so poor that it might not make a difference #menhaden

10:55:07 AM: Travelstead: My opinion is we need to present as many options as we can to the public. Don’t yet know results of new stock assessment

10:55:30 AM: Travelstead: we don’t want to kill the industry in the process of trying to fix that problem. Present a range of options.

11:06:14 AM: Himchek, NJ: We’re putting off the inevitable here when it gets down to allocation. Those are the decisions we’re headed for.

11:06:20 AM: Himchek: Economics and social sciences has to weigh in on this. That’s where we’re headed.

11:08:24 AM: David Pierce, CT: Uncertainties in landing history of #menhaden. we should have strategies for both dealers and fishermen reporting

11:08:57 AM: Pierce: there will be elect. reporting options. and reporting through SAFIS, and state dealers required to report. plug holes, plug gaps

11:13:21 AM: Grout, NH: Move to substitute that recreational measures te moved to the adaptive management section of the document.

11:13:44 AM: Vote is unanimous. Rec measures removed to adaptive management section #menhaden #asmfc12

11:16:06 AM: Now #asmfc12 discusses commercial #menhaden fishery management tools to be included in draft amendment.

11:16:15 AM: Travelstead, VA: Motion to eliminate trip limits and gear restrictions.

11:16:48 AM: Stockwell, ME: Trip limit rules work well in our state. Not in favor of removing that. But we could remove effort results. Seems complicated

11:17:47 AM: VA bait guy: Disastrous in menhaden industry w/ trip limits. If trip limits of 5,000 bushels, we’re going to have an ecological disaster.

11:18:16 AM: Voting on Travelstead’s motion: All in favor except FWS (Geiger), Maine, New York

11:20:01 AM: Louis Daniel, NC: Now we have to discuss allocations. We have an 80/20 split between reduction/bait industry.

11:20:19 AM: Daniel: We need to be cognizant of real impacts on bait fishery along the coast, impacts to lobster and crab fisheries.

11:24:25 AM: Fegley, MD: If we go state by state, that decision rests solely within that single state that’s managing the reduction fleet (i.e. Virginia)
11:26:35 AM: Fegley: Takes it out the hands of the board as a whole. We have states that have artisinal bait fisheries with passive, multi species gears

11:29:10 AM: Fegley: For those states, will be harder. They would have to remove nets from the water and all associated fisheries.

11:29:24 AM: Fegley: If we go state by state we’re going to have to allocate, no matter how we do it.

11:30:20 AM: Travelstead, VA: I’m not sure we’ve heard enough today to eliminate either option. we’ve got to put both state by state or coastwide in doc

11:30:37 AM: Himchek, NJ: We need to hear from the TC to give us advie about if a certain proportion is better? 60-40, 50-50?

11:30:52 AM: Himchek: In our bait fishery, we are getting 4, 5, 6 year old fish. We need to hear also from the Committee on economic and social sciences

11:31:15 AM: Himchek: The reduction fishery is valued to the nation. People like the bait fishery but we have a bigger picture here to deal with

11:41:16 AM: Travelstead: Staff asked me to clarify motion eliminating coastwide trip limits. Can stay for a region, no objection.

11:42:02 AM: Terry Stockwell, ME: Coming from a state have episodic fishing landings, I’m more than a little anxious about the state-by state quotas

11:43:10 AM: Daniel: Maybe we have bycatch limits per season. If state has menhaden in gillnet they are going to be dead whether the season closed or not

11:44:16 AM: Pierce, MA: Maybe we should have Regional allocations. Some states have actively promoted menhaden fishing, some have not.

11:44:44 AM: Pierce: In Mass, We have favored curtailing menhaden fishery in favor of forage. To be penalized for ecological considerations, not fair

11:45:06 AM: Daniel: Would we consider New York north an option for regional?

11:46:06 AM: Daniel: I would like to put together small work group to collaborate with the plan development team between now and August.

11:46:33 AM: Bill Adler, MA: Region should be included, but eliminating by state-federal waters get that out. By gear could be eliminated as well.
11:54:33 AM: Daniel: We should get a 3 and 5 year analysis on state by state quotas, bait/reduction allocation quotas. A table that shows possibilities.

11:54:55 AM: Daniel: For NE guys, maybe a combo state by state-regional. Maybe a regional quota for NY north, then state by state quotas for south

11:55:48 AM: Mark Gibson, RI: if we do end up with a state by state option, leave some quota transferability option.

11:56:41 AM: Grout: Question of payback overages needs to be included. Suggest that we look at a consistent quota until the next assessment

11:57:03 AM: Grout: Re 3 and 5 year averages. In north, it’s been a long time since we’ve seen significant adult menhaden. We’ve seen peanut bunker

11:57:22 AM: Grout: Some of the northern states may not have had that much adult bait landings past 3 to 5 years.

11:58:35 AM: Stockwell: RE: 3 -5 year timeline. Regional setaside for Gulf of Maine? I.e. transfer unused quota back (see Atlantic herring fishery).

11:59:35 AM: Daniel: That seems fair. Could be a consistent problem.

11:59:50 AM: Himchek: As the original caretaker of bait landings data. we broke it down through 4 regions. there is a precedent for that particular point

12:00:17 PM: Himchek: What is the progress here? what is the timeline for the committee on economic and social sciences? valuable at the annual meeting.

12:01:24 PM: Mike Wayne: Going to be drafting sections thru what you’ve narrowed. looking at soc and ec impacts included in this draft amendment.

12:01:32 PM: Daniel: Interest in keeping area closures?

12:02:07 PM: Lynn Fegley: W/ quotas, seasonal closure applicable. But area closures, sometimes certain areas only need to be protected at certain times

12:02:21 PM: Travelstead: Get rid of limited entry program.

12:02:34 PM: Fegley: Uneasy about removing season closures.

12:03:05 PM: Now #menhaden board discussing de minimus status.

12:06:16 PM: Simpson, CT: I’d like to think we could define certain types of gears as de minimus. #Menhaden used for modest local consumption.

12:06:34 PM: Daniel: A little birdy told me that we might not have the data for that.

12:06:47 PM: Simpson: That almost reinforces the point that it’s so small it’s below the detection limits. I think the group could arrive at a figure.

12:08:50 PM: Daniel: It’s never been looked at that way, but we’re already going down different road. Maybe we could characterize some smaller fisheries

12:09:02 PM: Roy MIller, DE: I think we need to simplify this and just look at the bait fishery for this particular purpose as a whole.

12:09:35 PM: Lynn Fegley: I have queasiness about dividing by bait and reduction rather than by rig.

12:48:35 PM: Fegley: Those states w/ artisenal bait fisheries, like MD, large compared to others, they will be larger than de minimus but then what?

12:49:37 PM: Bill Goldsborough: Move to reconsider the timeline to achieve the target. (They had previously voted to eliminate 1 + 10 years as options)

12:50:41 PM: Sarah Peake, MA: Support Motion to reconsider our prior vote. Ask my fellow commissioners to consider it. There might have been confusion.

12:50:57 PM: Vote: Fails. Tie at 7 to 7

12:51:46 PM: Daniel: There is some comfort in the 10 yr timeline. Not that we’re going to wait ten years to reach the target necessarily.

12:52:24 PM: Daniel: We may not see one of the extraordinary recruitment events we need on #menhaden. Justification for maintaining a stronger timeline.

12:53:28 PM: Bill Goldsborough: Request to recogznize that substantial mount of this fishery takes place in federal waters, where we have no jurisdiction

12:53:37 PM: Goldsborough: Might we include some language in the draft amendment that it is our intent to provide recommendations for federal waters.

12:54:42 PM: Goldsborough: At last board meeting, I raised issue the language in Public Infomration Document on socioeco impacts is missing a component

12:55:48 PM: Goldsborough: Stocks been declining for 25 years. Boosting the stock would have positive socioeconomic impacts as well.

1:02:53 PM: Vince O’Shea, ASMFC director: Last Wed afternoon we had a meeting with Rob Whittman, VA Congressman, NMFS director, + NMFS sen scientist .

1:03:33 PM: O’Shea: Whittman’s primary concern was that the science function of ASMFC look carefully at available information (i.e. industry study).

1:04:49 PM: Travelstead: If we knew model was significantly sensitive to that kind of info [i.e. industry study], industry could pursue study further

1:05:39 PM: #Menhaden meeting is over. #asmfc12 is one step closer to implementing menhaden regs. But many disappointed menhaden advocates here in the room because the Commission voted to keep ten year timeline on the table.
4:01:08 PM: Thanks for the mentions/retweets! @elbishop @MattTinning @Observer609 @rachelannyes @oceanfolks @kileyjd @herringalliance @c_leschin

11:38:53 AM: “The world already produces more than 1 ½ times enough food to feed everyone on the planet.” Why can’t we end #hunger?

1:20:05 PM: Rising temperatures have lengthened the allergy season #climatechange

10:41:09 AM: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has announced they are replacing Executive Director, Vince O’Shea. No word yet on replacement.

6:38:48 PM: Cool crowd-funding platform for sci research

11:18:22 AM: Just published an investigative feature on #menhaden and #fishery management in @washmonthly #DeepSN Please read!

11:37:08 AM: thanks for the shout-outs! @oceanwire @herringalliance @theCJMview

11:08:30 AM: Thanks for the shoutout! RT @pewenvironment Most important fish in the sea gets star treatment from @ThePublicTrust

12:49:49 PM: Ha! RT @Aquatic_Habitat “I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.” -W. C. Fields

9:58:48 AM: Today the Menhaden Technical Committee meets in Raleigh North Carolina to discuss the 2012 benchmark stock assessment for Atlantic menhaden

10:01:41 AM: We will be tweeting off + on! On tap is a discussion about how to include an industry-funded study. See our article:

11:56:21 AM: iphone app will help concerned citizens report #fish kills

11:59:08 AM: Maryland’s Attorney General Gansler will sue if #asmfc12 doesn’t go far enough when cutting back #menhaden harvest

2:13:47 PM: Potomac tops list of endangered #rivers #Potomac supplies drinking water to 5 million in 4 states

11:26:56 AM: RT @mims “We’ve lost 30 to 70 percent of our wildlife since 1970″ I blame the filibuster.

2:15:31 PM: Good news for forage fish in #Maine. #alewives @talk_fish

8:10:55 AM: Protecting endangered sea turtles in Indonesia

8:21:39 AM: White abalone on brink of extinction

9:01:06 AM: South Korea reconsiders whaling plan

9:14:48 AM: More reefs=more fish

9:31:09 AM: Bycatch alert: redfish caught in Omega Protein net in Mississippi

10:58:27 AM: Eels worth as much as gold

11:51:59 AM: Raffles for #research. VIMS grad students raffling off a boat for funding

10:35:29 AM: #ASMFC Stock assessment of #eel determines that American Eel is depleted

10:54:12 AM: in the #Pacific, forage #fish are protected on paper, but not yet in the #ocean

11:14:39 AM: Why #Canada is a good place for fisheries #research

12:49:22 PM: A new way for fisheries to be #sustainable

2:50:18 PM: lack of #salmon leading to a “fisheries disaster” in #Alaska

12:35:29 PM: Save the most important fish in the sea: @Pewenvironment has released their action alert for #menhaden

9:06:14 AM: Arctic to be destroyed for just THREE YEARS of oil

10:59:28 AM: A reminder of the scope and scale of the #menhaden fishery

12:27:43 PM: Ocean acidification rivals climate change as an environmental threat

10:36:31 AM: We obtained emails from Omega Protein that show the comp was trying to influence official fisheries science #menhaden

11:29:59 AM: Epidemic of skin lesions in commercially important Great Barrier Reef coral trout:

2:24:02 PM: We’ll be live blogging the ASMFC’s Atlantic menhaden mtg tomorrow, beginning at 9:45 EST. Stay tuned for updates about this important fish!