Regulators approve increase in menhaden catch limits
PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A multi-state regulatory board is approving higher catch limits for Atlantic menhaden, a fish that plays important roles as bait and part of the ocean food web.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board voted to raise catch limits from 170,800 metric tons per year to 187,880 metric tons per year. The limits apply this year and in 2016.
A spokeswoman for the board says it also committed to developing an amendment to revisit state allocations. The fish occur in coastal and estuarine waters from Nova Scotia to Florida.
Conservationists applauded the board’s decision to back off calls for higher catch limits. The fish are an important food source for whales and seabirds and are sometimes used as bait for lobster traps and other in other fisheries.