Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Little fish, big impact

If you’d like to weigh in on menhaden management,  the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is holding a public hearing tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.

Menhadan: one of the Bay's most important fish.

at  the Potomac River Fisheries Commission building, 222 Taylor St.  in Colonial Beach. There’s also a hearing tonight in Heathsville. The comments, accepted until Nov. 2.,  will help guide the ASMFC in managing the species. Read the draft here. (Click on the meetings link.) The small, oily fish are used by Omega Protein in Reedville to make  fish oil and protein meal. The fish,  also known as bunkers, are also a major source of food for other fish, birds and mammals,  and  used for bait by recreational and commercial fishermen.  Those competing interests have focused attention on how menhaden stocks are faring, and whether current management efforts are sufficient. While the  agency’s most recent studies suggest that menhaden are not being over fished, some conservation groups, including the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, and recreational fishermen, say that concentrated harvesting in the Chesapeake Bay is a matter of concern.