Commercial menhaden harvesting along the marshes and coast of Lousiana is causing massive damage to the region’s recreational and sportfishing industries. According to NOAA statistics, these industries contribute approximately $1 Billion to the Pelican State’s economy. Menhaden boats use large nets that indiscriminately trap any and all marine life trapped in them, most of that bycatch does not survive.
Recently, advocates captured shocking videos of dead, floating game fish being left in the wake of a commercial menhaden boat. Sparking outrage and an important conversation.
Chris Macaluso, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Center for Marine Fisheries, shared some of his concerns with Sportfishing Magazine in a recent article.
“By conservative estimates, as much as 140 million pounds or more of bycatch are harvested and destroyed by these menhaden harvesters annually,” Macaluso says. “That includes both vital forage species and prime game fish that support the state’s recreational fishing industry.”
“Seeing hundreds and sometimes thousands of large, breeding-size redfish killed in pogy nets along the beaches where they’re eating and spawning every summer and fall is gut-wrenching,” adds Macaluso, a lifelong Louisiana resident, and angling enthusiast.
For more information on the negative impact menhaden harvesting is having on Lousiana’s coast, check out this article from Sportfishing Magazine!
Poor Manhaden harvesting practices are harming more than just the Lousiana fishery, last week, nine governors from the mid-Atlantic states signed a letter calling for a moratorium on menhaden fishing in their waters after Omega Protein overharvested thousands of metric tons of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
Source: Sportfishing Magazine.
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