Regulators eye changes to rules on critical menhaden fishery

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – Interstate fishing regulators are seeking public comment on a plan to tweak the way they manage menhaden, one of the most important little fish in the ocean food chain.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says in a statement last week that it wants to balance “menhaden’s ecological role as a prey species” with the needs of people who harvest and use the fish for a living.

The commission’s plan includes a suite of options about how to better manage menhaden. Options include potential changes to quota systems and accidental catch rules. The commission is soliciting feedback until Oct. 20.

Fishermen have caught more than a billion pounds of menhaden every year since at least 1950. They are harvested for use as bait and to make fish oil.

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