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Menhaden Muddle Series

By Charlie Hutchinson

The Menhaden Muddle Series is a collection of writings by Charlie Hutchinson, member of the Dorchester County chapter of the MSSA. Charlie began writing a series of articles designed to gain attention and put an end to the devastation of the atlantic menhaden by the reduction fishery. Charlie has published many of these articles and several more in local and state papers. Charlie is MSSA's lead on the menhaden issue and the menhaden muddle series explains the MSSA's position as well as what needs to be done to restore and sustain a healthy menhaden fishery.


Menhaden Muddle #28

As this is being written, public hearings are taking place in 11 states on the proposed Addendum V for menhaden management. The first of the meetings in our area was held on 9/26 in Delaware. The writer was not able to attend, but members of MSSA chapter 11 did. They report a full house, well attended with attendees who spoke solidly in favor of the 15% threshold and 30% to 40% target. There was a negative comment from a commercial crabber who was concerned that a reduction in allowable catch could impact his business. All in all, a very productive meeting.

Similarly the Maryland meeting on 10/11in Annapolis was very well attended. The vast majority of those who spoke favored the 15% threshold and a 40% target. There were negative comments from a few watermen who were concerned with potential adverse effects on their business if significant cuts were made in harvests allowed. Again, a productive meeting that makes clear how Marylanders want progress on menhaden management and want it now.

However, despite the overall public interest in and demand for change, there are some sticky wickets ahead. First and foremost Omega and the bait industry have joined forces to impede any significant progress to manage menhaden for their forage value. Make no mistake, they mean business because any reduction in allowable catch can reduce their income. Further the Northern states within ASMFC are reluctant to see changes that might affect their ability to obtain bait since their waters are already depleted and this would adversely affect their economy. Omega in particular will do everything they can think of to delay or minimize any adverse effect on their business. Their written “advertising” now is more blatant and contains a good deal of misinformation.

Given the rate of decimation of the menhaden stock it is clear that present management practices will result, at some point, in insufficient menhaden to keep the Reedville plant profitable. At that point the employees will lose their income source, but the economic impact on other businesses will be just as devastating. Omega’s efficiency will be their own undoing but will carry with it a heavy economic burden on others. This sort of short term thinking puts the recreational and environmental forces on a collision course with industrial fishing operations .If the readers of this article wish to avoid losing this battle you have to quit being quiet on the sidelines and get involved. The way to get the commissioners to understand the depth of your concerns is to communicate directly to the ASMFC. This can best be accomplished by letter (email or conventional) to: Ms Toni Kerns, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, 1050 N. Highland St.- Suite 200 A-N, Arlington, VA 22201 email TKerns@asmfc.org

MSSA recommends adoption of a 15% threshold, a 40% target and a hard cap for the East Coast including the EEZ.

Previous Menhaden Articles:

Menhaden Muddle #33
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE MENHADEN BOARD

Menhaden Muddle #32
WHAT'S UP WITH OMEGA PROTEIN?

Menhaden Muddle #31
MORE VIEWPOINTS ON MENHADEN ECONOMICS

Menhaden Muddle #30
THE OUTFALL FROM BEANTOWN

Menhaden Muddle #29
ANOTHER INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Menhaden Muddle #28

Menhaden ALERT

End Overfishing of Menhaden

Menhaden Muddle #27
NEXT MOVES ON MENHADEN

Menhaden Muddle #26
A CRITIQUE...

Menhaden Muddle #25
SOME MANAGEMENT MEASURES FOR CONSIDERATION

Menhaden Muddle #24
ASMFC'S Challenge

Menhaden Muddle #23
ASMFC'S Dilemma

Menhaden Muddle #22

Menhaden Muddle #21

Menhaden Muddle #20

Menhaden Muddle #19

Menhaden Muddle #18

Menhaden Muddle #17

Menhaden Muddle #16
What would Izaak do?

Menhaden Muddle #15

Menhaden Muddle #14

Menhaden Muddle #13
Menhaden Unmuddled?

Menhaden Muddle #12
What's next for Menhaden Management?

Menhaden Muddle #11

Menhaden Muddle #10

Menhaden Muddle #9

Menhaden Muddle #8

Menhaden Muddle #7

Menhaden Muddle #6

Menhaden Muddle #5

Menhaden Muddle #4

Menhaden Muddle #3

Menhaden Muddle #2

Menhaden Muddle #1


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