Gansler requests protections for Atlantic menhaden
Attorney general proposes nearly doubling the overfishing threshold
An interstate panel that regulates fishing from Maine to Florida is weighing a range of actions that could reduce the commercial harvest of menhaden by as much as 45 percent all along the coast, including in Maryland. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / The Baltimore Sun / October 28, 2011)
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering updates to its management plan for the menhaden and Gansler submitted comments to the commission requesting that the threshold for overfishing be nearly doubled from the current rate.
"The Commission's interstate fishery management plan … for the menhaden has so far failed to adequately protect the menhaden fishery, particularly from overfishing," Gansler said in his comments. "Despite menhaden's historic decline, the Commission has allowed menhaden to be fished down to 8 percent of their maximum spawning potential."
Gansler proposed that the threshold be increased to 15 percent of the species' maximum spawning potential.
The population of Atlantic menhaden has decreased by 88 percent since 1985, according to a statement Wednesday from Gansler's office.