Menhaden hearing Thursday night in Dover

DOVER — DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife will host an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover.

Draft Amendment 3 seeks to manage the resource in a way that balances menhaden’s ecological role as a prey species with the needs of all user groups. The amendment considers the use of ecosystem reference points to manage the resource, and also presents management options for the commercial menhaden fishery.

The 2015 Benchmark Stock Assessment Report identified the development of ecosystem reference points as a high priority for Atlantic menhaden management.

Menhaden play an important role in the marine ecosystem as prey for a variety of species including larger fish (weakfish, striped bass), birds (bald eagles, osprey), and marine mammals (humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins). As a result, changes in the abundance of menhaden may impact predator populations, particularly if availability of other prey is limited.

To review the draft amendment on the ASMFC website, click Atlantic Menhaden Draft Amendment 3. Anglers and other interested parties are encouraged to provide input on the draft amendment by attending the state public hearing or providing written comment.

Written public comment will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 20, 2017 and may be mailed to Megan Ware, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; faxed to (703) 842-0741 or emailed to comments@asmfc.org, subject line: Draft Amendment 3.

Final action on the Amendment, as well as setting the 2018 total allowable catch limit, is scheduled for Nov. 14 at the BWI Airport Marriott, 1743 West Nursery Road, Linthicum, Md. For more information, please contact Megan Ware at mware@asmfc.org or (703) 842-0740.

For more information about the Dover hearing, contact DNREC’s Fisheries Section at (302)739-9914.

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