Some of my previous work on menhaden:
One of the craziest ideas ever -- and it just might work
So much for that idea
Why isn't the Chesapeake Bay a national park?
As for the current news:
A lot of the pressure to stop menhaden overfishing will be on the state of Virginia, currently led by Governor "Caveman" Bob McDonnell, to reign in the Omega Proteins plant in Reedsville and allow the fishery to recover for the good of all involved, INCLUDING THE EMPLOYEES OF THE PLANT IN REEDSVILLE! Sorry to shout, but overfishing really makes no sense and ticks me off, too.
The good news is that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), which manages the fishery, is poised to take historic steps to restore this valuable species. When the ASMFC meets next week in Boston from November 7-10, it will consider the many ways menhaden are used: for commercial products such as omega 3 fatty acid pills and factory farm feed; as bait for commercial and recreational fishermen, who target larger fish; and, most importantly, as a pillar of the East Coast marine food web.
To answer this public outcry and save this small but important fish, the commission should embrace the strongest rebuilding goal on the table: a fourfold increase in the population. By doing so, the ASMFC would follow the best scientific advice for managing key prey species such as menhaden. Delaying decisions or maintaining the status quo—another option still on the table—is not scientifically or ecologically defensible.
Commercial fishing should not jeopardize the health of marine ecosystems, recreational fishing opportunities, or public resources. As with other fisheries, we need to focus on sustainability and provide everyone on the Atlantic coast with ample fish, both big and small.