Ken Moran, fishing columnist for the New York Post, has a good article this morning about efforts to save the menhaden along the East coast. Their numbers are plummeting, largely because of harvesting by a company called Omega Protein, which is based in Houston but fishes out of Virginia with 10 ships and 8 spotter planes. Omega's purse nets collect up to 50,000 lb of menhaden in one swoop. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says that last year, Omega took 80% of the East coast menhaden catch. The remainder was caught for bait by individual fishermen. Why should you care? Ken interviewed an expert, who explains:
"We have seen the stock drop precipitously. This has had a dramatic
impact not only on the menhaden but on all the species that depend on
menhaden as a forage species," said Tom Fote of the New Jersey Coast
Anglers. "For the Atlantic Coast, menhaden is one of the most important
species in the ocean.
"We all know when menhaden are abundant.
Striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, tuna and others are caught around the
menhaden schools. When the menhaden disappear from an area, all the
species we target disappear with them."
Yes, we should all be worried.
He needs a hand…