Fishing, and really life in general, is simply better when there are a lot of menhaden in the water. Thankfully, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has recently received more than 127,000 individual
comments supporting strong, ecosystem-based reference points in the management of Atlantic Menhaden. Let's hope the commission makes history and the right decision next week by voting for improved fisheries management.
Voting in favor of ecological reference points (ERPs) will protect the important role of menhaden as forage by maintaining a larger population, which means more food in the water for dependent predators and more robust East Coast fisheries, sport and commercial.
You can join whale watchers, charter boat captains, bait fisherman, sport anglers, scientists, bird enthusiasts, students, conservation advocates, and Bay lovers in witnessing a historic vote that will take place sometime during the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board meeting Nov. 13 and 14 at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation is offering a free charter bus trip to the meeting on Monday, Nov. 13, with two stops on the Eastern Shore.
Salisbury: Parking lot of Macy's at Salisbury Centre, 2304 N Salisbury Blvd. Departure time: 9:15 a.m. Return time: approximately 6:30 p.m.
Easton: Parking lot of Walmart, 8155 Elliott Rd. Departure time: 10:15 a.m. Return time: approximately 7:30 p.m.
Arriving at the meeting at 11:30 a.m., bus riders can join the "Bunker Room" for lunch, gear demos, giveaways, and more. The
meeting is from 1 to 5 p.m. that day. To sign up for the bus, RSVP to Hilary Gibson, [email protected] or 410-543-1999.
Menhaden are very efficient filter feeders. Water is pushed through specialized gill rakers that are formed into a basket that allows them to capture plankton. They are an essential link of the food chain between primary production and higher organisms by consuming plankton and providing forage for species such as striped bass, bluefish, and weakfish, to name just a few.
The best choice for everyone is the 75/40 option presented as Ecological Reference Point Option E in Draft Amendment 3 to the Interstate Menhaden Plan. It has strong backing within the scientific community and is ready to be implemented now, fairly balancing the needs of the ecosystem with those of the fisheries for menhaden and other species.
The following issues in Draft Amendment 3 will also ensure a robust population of this important forage fish.
Quota Rollovers should not be allowed (Option A). There is no reason to implement a quota rollover program for any segment of the menhaden fishery. Menhaden are available to commercial fisheries throughout much of the year, leaving ample time to catch quotas.
In addition, due to the importance of menhaden to the Chesapeake Bay and coastal ecosystems, rolling quota over to the next year can inflate the catch in that year beyond the level determined to be ecologically sustainable.
The current management plan exempts
bycatch from inclusion in the quota, allowing millions of pounds of fish to go uncounted. To ensure a managed fishery, all landings of menhaden should be included in the coastwide Total Allowable Catch (TAC). To accomplish this objective, Option F- counting all catch - is the best choice. By more fairly distributing quota, the plan can count all fishing methods under the limit.
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest nursery for menhaden on the Atlantic Coast, so the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Cap remains an essential fisheries management tool for minimizing localized depletion. To help rebuild the population of menhaden in the Bay, Option B- reducing the cap for the Chesapeake is the best option to further protect this important nursery area. As with the Atlantic Coast fishery, quota rollovers in the Chesapeake Bay should not be allowed.
*** Youth archery classes
Boys and girls ages 8 to 18 can sign-up for archery classes that begin Tuesday, Nov. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Thendara 4-H Center, Lord's Crossing Road near Hurlock. The classes are sponsored by the Dorchester County 4-H Shooting Sports Club, which is now accepting new members.
Archery equipment will be provided for shooting in the indoor range. For additional information or to pre-register, email to [email protected] or call
*** Duck blind know-it-all
Cedar Waxwings can get drunk from eating overripe berries that have started to ferment. Flocks of intoxicated
birds have been known to simultaneously hit large windows.
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