Menhaden Fishery in Graphics

As the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission gears up to meet in early August, all eyes are once again turning to Atlantic menhaden, the forage fish that has been called “the most important fish in the sea.” Menhaden feeds commercially valuable predator fish like striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish, as well as marine mammals like humpback whales and dolphins, and even sea birds like loons and osprey. Ecologically, therefore, menhaden is important to all the states along the Atlantic, but commercially it valuable primarily to Virginia — the only state that allows menhaden “reduction” boats into its state waters. For the graphically inclined, here are a few charts that put the menhaden fishery into perspective.