On Tuesday, August 4th, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will vote on a measure to change the way they currently manage menhaden. If ASMFC approves the measure, menhaden will be managed using Ecological Reference Points, which takes into account the ecological importance of this baitfish.

Menhaden play an integral role in the Atlantic Ocean’s food chain. They are a principal prey species of Striped Bass, Bluefish, Bluefin Tuna, sharks, dolphins, whales, sea birds, Ospreys, and other species. With so many marine species relying on menhaden as their food sources, it is clearly prudent to take into account their larger role in marine ecosystems.

To further demonstrate the vital role of menhaden and the support for managing menhaden with ERPs, the American Saltwater Guides Association produced this video.

ASGA PRESS RELEASE:

Oceanside, NY (July 23, 2020) – The American Saltwater Guides Association (“ASGA”), a coalition of forward-thinking guides, small business owners and like-minded anglers who understand the value of keeping fish in the water, today released a video containing commentary from numerous individuals representing different interests and backgrounds collectively urging the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (the “ASMFC”) to adopt the use of Ecological Reference Points (“ERPs”) in the management of menhaden at its upcoming meeting scheduled for August 3-6, 2020.

The video, which can be viewed in its entirety here , includes testimony from the following
individuals and organizations:

  • Tony Friedrich, Vice President & Policy Director, ASGA
  • Peter Jenkins, Owner of The Saltwater Edge and ASGA Board Chairman
  • Jason Jarvis, Commercial Fisherman and Board President of the Northwest Atlantic
    Marine Alliance (“NAMA”)
  • Tykee James, Audubon Society
  • Kyle Schaefer, Owner of Soul Fly Outfitters, ASGA Maine Board Member
  • Kerry Heffernan, Chef, Grand Banks
  • Mike Avery, President, Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association
  • Zack Clyver, Naturalist, Eco-Tourism Expert
  • Ellen Pikitch – Scientist and Professor, Stony Brook University
  • Paul Sieswerda, President, Gotham Whale
  • Cory Crochetiere, All Seasons Marine & USGA Captain, One More Cast Charters
  • Richard Brame, Atlantic States Fisheries Director, Coastal Conservation Association

The collaboration of such a wide range of interests, including recreational anglers, recreational for-hire captains, commercial fishermen, bird and whale watching groups, tackle shop owners, chefs, and scientists provides testament to the critical importance of menhaden to the marine ecosystem on the East Coast.

Further highlighting the value of menhaden to both the recreational angling community and
commercial harvesters, the ASGA has partnered with NAMA to develop a public comment letter to the ASMFC supporting the adoption of ERPs. The two organizations are currently collecting signatures for the letter, and encourage anyone interested in signing onto it to send an email to ASGA Executive Director Willy Goldsmith (willy@saltwaterguidesassociation.org) by 12:00pm ET on Monday, July 27. Please include:

  • Full name
  • State
  • Interest in menhaden (e.g., private angler, commercial fisherman, whale watcher, etc.)
  • If signing on behalf of an organization, name of organization, logo, and personal title

“The implementation of ERPs in the management of Atlantic menhaden would represent a
momentous development in fisheries management and finally take into consideration the true importance that a keystone forage species has on the broader marine ecosystem,” said
Friedrich. “It is clear that a healthy population of menhaden can support an astonishing amount of life up and down the East Coast, and accounting for the impact that removing that species from the environment could have on other species is essential in developing effective, responsible management practices. The ASMFC has an opportunity to advance the management of menhaden and forage fish in a way that benefits not only the species that rely on them, but also the millions of individuals, organizations and other constituents that count on a healthy marine ecosystem for their livelihoods and recreation. We urge the ASMFC to do the right thing and vote ‘YES’ to ERPs for menhaden.”

For more information on menhaden management and how important the species is for anglers everywhere, please visit the ASGA’s website for their recent post on the subject.

 

Organization of the Month: American Saltwater Guides Association

How To Fly Fish for Bluefish

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