Menhaden Defenders has a campaign to stop the over-harvesting of this important species of fish. How important? The most important fish in the sea — remember that book? Stocks of menhaden have declined alarmingly in the past 25 years. They are harvested for uses such as Omega-3 oil supplements and oil based paint. Atlantic menhaden also happen to be a primary forage fish for a number of species of game fish such as stripers (or rockfish for you Mid-Atlantic residents) and bluefish.
Go here to take action to stop overfishing of menhaden. You can use the text they offer or paste the slightly corrected version below into their online form:
Dear ASMFC Commissioner,
I am deeply concerned that the Atlantic menhaden stock is at an all time low that that the latest stock assessment found that overfishing is occurring. Atlantic menhaden are vital to the Mid-Atlantic marine ecosystem, and this fishery should be managed with the utmost care. Therefore, I respectfully request that you:
1) Establish the first ever coast-wide cap on the menhaden fishery for the 2012 season. This quota should be based on an target of 30% of the Maximum Spawning Potential—i.e. 30% of the mature fish in an “unfished” stock must be left in the water—with a corresponding overfishing threshold of 15% MSP
2) Require appropriate monitoring and enforcement measures to avoid fishing over that cap
3) Move quickly to manage the species on an ecosystems basis, accounting for the critical forage role that menhaden play.
Thank you for considering my views.