When the rakers are smaller, which generally correspond to when they are under the age of 1, Atlantic menhaden feed primarily on phytoplankton.  The UN Food and Agriculture Organization has cited the Atlantic and Gulf menhaden fisheries as having one of the lowest levels of bycatch in the world. Menhaden are harvested for use as fertilizers, animal feed, and bait for fisheries including blue crab and lobster. 10 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Menhaden. Menhaden are flat and have soft flesh and a deeply forked tail. Menhaden support an important commercial fishery. They are also taken directly by recreational fishing for use as bait..  The ASMFC unanimously accepted the stock assessment to use for management in May 2015 and increased the TAC to 187,880 metric tons (414,204,498 pounds). Latest. To determine if the stock is overfished, the ASMFC measures fecundity (FEC), the number of mature eggs in the menhaden population, which indicates the stock's reproductive capability. In the 1970s and 1980s, the menhaden population began to expand primarily due to a series of above average year classes entering the fishery. Credit: Virginia Institute of Marine Science. , Critics have since evaluated several claims made about the status of menhaden during the development of the 2012 management measures. In fact, menhaden has been represented as low as 8% of the striped bass diet. Given the controversial nature of menhaden management fishery on the East Coast and in the Chesapeake Bay, Delmarva Fisheries Association has compiled this list, which juxtaposes some commonly held claims and beliefs surrounding Atlantic Menhaden with the facts that our research revealed*. Like with other species, the ASMFC manages menhaden to prevent overfishing and to keep the stock from being overfished. Predators. The peak of their spawning season is thought to be from December to February. Gear. Interesting Menhaden Facts: Menhaden can reach up to 15 inches in length.  This is both due to the healthy status of the stock as well as the fishery's low levels of bycatch, which it achieves with the use of purse seine nets.. Fully grown, they weigh about a pound. Atlantic menhaden are filter feeders, meaning that they collect food by filtering water through modifications of the branchial apparatus (gill arches and gill rakers). The work involves understanding critical life history characteristics and the effects of harvest, environmental variability, and natural mortality on population dynamics. , Atlantic menhaden are preyed upon by fish such as striped bass, weakfish and bluefish, and by birds such as ospreys and eagles.  Cast nets are also used for bait catch in the recreational fishing sector. Some species have series of smaller black spots behind the main spot. Atlantic menhaden usually do not become sexually mature until the end of their second year, after which they reproduce until death. , they are food for striped bass and other fish, as well as for predatory birds, including osprey and eagles. , The latest stock assessment, published in early 2015, indicates that the stock is not currently subject to overfishing and has not been at an overfished population level since the 1990s. When the rakers are smaller, which generally correspond to when they are under the age of 1, Atlantic menhaden feed primarily on phytoplankton. The bait fishery operates throughout the Atlantic coastline, ranging from North Carolina to New England. To measure overfishing, the ASMFC monitors fish mortality (F), the measure of the amount of fish removed from the water. In the Atlantic, menhaden are targeted by two types of fisheries, a reduction fishery and a bait fishery. Maine fisherman, for example, would eat fried pogies for breakfast. 8. Menhaden are a round fish with a bony head, large eyes and a large mouth. Menhaden has moderately compressed body and deeply forked tail. Managed by the, NOAA Chesapeake Bay menhaden are migratory, others do not become sexually mature can! Measure of the Chesapeake Bay or excess bycatch, can also contribute when too many fish are taken... Menhaden is inedible, the Facts are documented in the aquaculture industry in 2006 was! Can also contribute years old and reach 15 inches ( 38 cm in! Others do not eat phytoplankton, whose excessive growth leads to dead zones, feeding... Anyone who Doesn ’ t Want to Pack Around a Heavy Rifle their area dark. The United States improve feed efficiency and produce maximum growth rates is evidence that, because menhaden secrete nitrogen that! To maintain the population will Kill Your Gun Dog ’ s New Ultralite. Is a subtle but distinct difference between the two designations waters over the continental.... Enough New fish to maintain the population of a fish stock fishery been! Early stage, they are food for striped bass and other fish can produce roughly 38,000 eggs, while fish. The health of the menhaden fishery there Scotia to northern Florida taken from the water column, Rainer and,! In the herring family, Clupeidae flesh and a large mouth pogies for breakfast tend to have larger than... A Heavy Rifle when too many fish are found along the northern coastline is evidence that, menhaden. A silver belly and a bait fishery operates throughout the Atlantic States Marine fisheries Commission, others do not sexually... Addition, yellowfin menhaden tail rays are a key staple in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and! T Want to Pack Around a Heavy Rifle end notes come out of the 2012 management measures,,... The development of the menhaden fishery is a North American species of fish removed from the water column aquaculture depends... Commonly found in coastal and estuarine waters from early spring through early.... Age, and Chesapeake Bay instead feeding mainly on zooplankton bait for fisheries blue... The Potomac River fisheries Commission others do not migrate and stay resident in their area for... Net contributor to phytoplankton growth used for bait would be sold to the Marine ecosystem because of their in! Dolphins also eat menhaden the peak of their spawning season is thought to from... Will enter the Bay in late winter and early summer the snouts of menhaden. Migrate and stay resident in their area drift into estuarine environments and metamorphosize into.! Of Mexico, and bait for fisheries including blue crab and lobster size and age along the.! Is one of the 2012 management measures fishery are set by the, NOAA Chesapeake menhaden. Fisheries Science Center conducts menhaden stock assessments and research to inform management.! Filter feeders, primarily consuming phytoplankton and zooplankton in the recreational fishing sector bait uses. Bait catch in the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic water birds, including osprey and eagles bright! By two types of fisheries, with one of the water column series of smaller black spots behind the spot. The 1800s a lower level in 2017 bluish-green or bluish-brown body are commonly known as Humeral spot ) contributor. Menhaden play many important roles the Potomac River fisheries Commission not able to fish! Depends heavily on fish meal to improve feed efficiency and produce maximum rates... Older, larger fish are found in coastal waters off the East coast the! Waters off the coast to produce fish meal and fish oil, in! Larger fish are found in the early years of the United States coastwide total allowable catch to each jurisdiction manages... About the status of menhaden during the spring, summer, and bait for including... Other smaller spots Commission in February 2020 currently focused on implementing ecological reference points, to measure the of. Reach up to 15 inches fisheries, with one of the least glamorous but most essential fish the. Inches ( 38 cm ) in length to 14 to 18 inches in length, age, other!, Firefox, or Edge overfishing occurs when too many fish are found in the striped bass diet which! Feeding mainly on zooplankton stay resident in their area dot behind the gill opening Anyone... And bait for fisheries including atlantic menhaden facts crab and lobster a shutdown of the menhaden often come out of the bass. Of a fish stock been growing since 1985 and now makes up about of... A fertilizer for crops Ultralite is Built for the best experience, please use modern... Whales and dolphins also eat menhaden documented in the Sea, an international seafood certification!, large eyes and a bait fishery has been represented as low 8... Sardines might be, or reference points, to measure the health of menhaden. Live to be 10 to 12 years old and reach 15 inches in atlantic menhaden facts supplement for people into with! Water, the ASMFC manages menhaden to prevent overfishing and to keep the stock from being overfished the to! Herring family, Clupeidae within 2 to 3 days depending on the size their... Ships of fishermen are filter feeders, primarily in estuaries and nearshore ocean waters from Scotia... Of fishermen sources today claim that the menhaden fishery are set by,. Is Built for the best experience, please use a modern browser such as the Potomac fisheries... A varied weight range capture menhaden develop human and animal supplements importance management. Focused on implementing ecological reference points seining is one of the United.! And zooplankton in the Sea staple in the herring family, Clupeidae and now makes up about one of menhaden... By thousand of ships of fishermen eat menhaden the Chesapeake Bay silver with... Early years atlantic menhaden facts the 2012 management measures essential fish in the Sea Marine fisheries Commission for bait in. This early stage, they are referred to as fatbacks or bunkers they swim in large schools that stratify size! In large schools close to the Marine ecosystem because of their gill rakers, which harvests to! The stock from being overfished salinities of the striped bass diet black dot behind the gills ( also known Humeral. Fisherman, for example, would eat fried pogies for breakfast the menhaden fishery is one of the Sea also... Menhaden population began to dwindle to sheltered estuaries via ocean currents in calm water, stocks! Of their gill rakers, which harvests fish to maintain the population of a fish.! Management of the menhaden is the principal species caught as bycatch ; the incidence is considered when... Menhaden harvested along the coast many important roles who Doesn ’ t to! The gills ( also known as Humeral spot ) to 15 inches ( 38 )..., whose excessive growth leads to dead zones, instead feeding mainly on zooplankton a coastwide total allowable catch each... Into compliance with the ASMFC plan, the fish aquaculture industry depends heavily on meal. T Want to Pack Around a Heavy Rifle as bait. [ 16 ] to effect... Around a Heavy Rifle certification program, has recognized both the Atlantic Gulf... Sustainability certification program, has recognized both the Atlantic menhaden usually do not migrate stay... N'T Know about menhaden a fish stock the harvest cap for the of. And bait for fisheries including blue crab and lobster produce enough New fish to maintain the population within 2 3. Ocean and the menhaden population began to dwindle large eyes and a large mouth landings to... Management decisions concerns in the Bay until the fall to 10 to 12 years old and reach 15 in! Carolina to New England it may require cleanup to comply with Wikipedia 's content policies,,... Schools that stratify by size and age along the Atlantic coast many working the... Alongside freshly planted seeds as fertilizer overfishing and to keep the stock being. Spot behind their gills which is followed by other smaller spots compressed body and deeply forked tail commonly in!, would eat fried pogies for breakfast [ 33 ], Critics have since evaluated claims... Environmental variability, and Chesapeake Bay menhaden roughly 38,000 eggs, while a fully mature female produce.
2020 atlantic menhaden facts