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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 #6

Our last article (menhaden muddle #5) outlined a modest beginning to a public campaign to conserve menhaden. Assuming that state regulated fishing thru ASMFC is preferred to Federal control ,the effort needs to focus on getting ASMFC to manage as opposed to letting things go to crisis stage. Since the commissioners have little at risk, most of the effort will be directed toward state government. Specifically the pitch is to go after those politicians who need public support to keep their positions and who actually do have something at stake.

The most recent stock assessment included a significant change in the mortality factor. As a result, it is now clear that overfishing is occurring. In fact it has been occurring for 45% of the time since 1980. The harvest has exceeded the target level 100% of this period. The attached chart clearly illustrates this condition. With this information in hand the ASMFC will be obligated to respond by imposing harvest restrictions. They have a number of methods in their toolbox to accomplish this. The point will be made that harvest must be restricted to the target level and quickly .How this is to be accomplished is up to the Management Board. It may be as straightforward as to reduce the harvest by X% on a coastwide basis. Each state then would be required to reduce their catch by the agreed upon %. Some states will be significantly affected, particularly those with the largest harvest, others not so much.

This proposed action will be brought to the ASMFC at its spring meeting and Maryland will be the state who will take the lead. Much of the supporting documentation has been developed by Maryland Department of Natural Resources personnel. Unless there is a credible basis for refuting the declaration of an overfished stock, ASMFC will be obligated to take action to start the stock rebuilding process. Should they fail to take appropriate measures and the public is apprised of yet another failure to act, the repercussion could be severe.

In order to bring about the desired results the governors of each of the Atlantic states and other officials who have a vote will be lobbied. The facts will be presented and they will be asked to direct the commissioners from their state to accept the proposal(s) to stop the overfishing. It is in everyones best interests that definitive action be taken. Those who view this website are requested to write, call, or email your governors office demanding the imposition of those management actions which will stop the overfishing. NUMBERS COUNT! Politicians are sensitive to the needs of their constituents, but if only a few participate, they will come to feel the issue is not important. In addition advise your congressmen of your concerns and requested action. Should the ASMFC not be responsive Federal action in the EEZ would be the next logical step.

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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