Last updated on 25 July 2018

SUMMARY

SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Brevoortia tyrannus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Atlantic menhaden

COMMON NAMES

pogie, bunker

The NW Atlantic menhaden stock is considered one unit based on genetic studies and cohort analysis in the commercial catch. Some hybridization with yellowfin and Gulf menhaden is known to occur, but is likely small (Anderson and Karel 2007)


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Bycatch and discards are considered minimal.
  • Stock appears to be lower than target biomass but experiencing low exploitation.
  • Managers have  set precautionary quotas which are being adhered to.
  • Managers have instituted peer reviewed and recommended reference points and are examining ecosystem based reference points to account for menhaden's role as an important prey item in the ecosystem.  
  • Stock is in the process of MSC certification.  
Weaknesses
  • Current reference points do not account explicitly for menhaden's role in the ecosystem as a forage fish.
  • The bait sector is a growing portion of this fishery, but has the most uncertainty with respect to landings and reporting.  
  • Most recent benchmark assessment in 2015 as well as the updated assessment in 2017 moved away from a time varying natural mortality which may hamper forecasting if the predator demand changes.   

FISHSOURCE SCORES

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 6

Fishers Compliance:

10

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

7.2

Future Health:

9.4


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Support research to improve understanding of the role of menhaden in the ecosystem.
  • Encourage the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to continue considering the ecological role of menhaden as an important prey species in the ecosystem when updating reference points and management measures.
  • Advocate for improvement in the reporting of catches by area for the bait sector to reduce uncertainty in understanding removals.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

  • Omega Protein Corporation U.S. Atlantic menhaden purse seine:

    MSC Full Assessment

Fisheries

Within FishSource, the term "fishery" is used to indicate each unique combination of a flag country with a fishing gear, operating within a particular management unit, upon a resource. That resource may have a known biological stock structure and/or may be assessed at another level for practical or jurisdictional reasons. A fishery is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

ASSESSMENT UNIT MANAGEMENT UNIT FLAG COUNTRY FISHING GEAR
NW Atlantic US Atlantic United States Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 11 July 2018

Strengths
  • Bycatch and discards are considered minimal.
  • Stock appears to be lower than target biomass but experiencing low exploitation.
  • Managers have  set precautionary quotas which are being adhered to.
  • Managers have instituted peer reviewed and recommended reference points and are examining ecosystem based reference points to account for menhaden's role as an important prey item in the ecosystem.  
  • Stock is in the process of MSC certification.  
Weaknesses
  • Current reference points do not account explicitly for menhaden's role in the ecosystem as a forage fish.
  • The bait sector is a growing portion of this fishery, but has the most uncertainty with respect to landings and reporting.  
  • Most recent benchmark assessment in 2015 as well as the updated assessment in 2017 moved away from a time varying natural mortality which may hamper forecasting if the predator demand changes.   
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 13 September 2018

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Support research to improve understanding of the role of menhaden in the ecosystem.
  • Encourage the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to continue considering the ecological role of menhaden as an important prey species in the ecosystem when updating reference points and management measures.
  • Advocate for improvement in the reporting of catches by area for the bait sector to reduce uncertainty in understanding removals.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 28 May 2018

A benchmark assessment was conducted in 2015 (SEDAR, 2015) by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commision.  Results indicate a robust stock. The model in use is a sophistication on previous assessments, but incorporates many changes which are thought to improve precision. The problematic retrospective pattern found in the last update has been resolved (SEDAR, 2015). This assessment has moved away from a time varying natural mortality, which may hamper projection precision should the predator demand change. There are uncertainties with respect to bait landings and reporting.

An update of the existing model was conducted in early 2017. This model used revised historical catches that only changed the total removals slightly, and re-scaled the catchability of the northern index, one of two fishery independent indices that measure the population. The results of this updated model changed the size of the population, and the numerical value of the fishing and fecundity reference points (ASMFC 2017; McNamee, J 2017). Due to the afore mentioned change in catchability of the northern index, the population model revised the overall fecundity downward when compared to the benchmark, however fecundity reference points also were revised downward resulting in no change in stock status.

Atlantic menhaden is in the process of a benchmark assessment; results are expected at the end of 2019.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 28 May 2018

In the past the Technical Committee, which provides scientific advice to the management process, recommended the development of more conservative single species reference points based on management goals, aiming to end overfishing and to provide increased protection to population spawning biomass. The benchmark in 2015 as well as previous ones suggested that ecosystem-based reference points be adopted. Additional recommendations by the assessment team, which completes the assessment and determines stock status relative to reference points, were to increase data collection and to improve the assessment methodology, in order to reduce uncertainty in the estimates (SEDAR, 2015). A full benchmark is scheduled for 2019 which will examine reference points that account for predation. 

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 28 May 2018

As of the most current updated assessment (ASMFC 2017)(McNamee, J 2017) stock biomass/fecundity is slightly below (~15%) its fecundity target while fishing mortality is well below threshold levels. 

Overall landings had been in decline since 1990. But the bait landings have been variable but slightly increasing over the most recent time period since 2005.  Fecundity has been highly variable, but in 2006 jumped to a new higher plateau and while still variable, has hovered at a higher level than previously. Fishing mortality has been in decline since the later 1990's, and was at its lowest point historically in 2013 (SEDAR, 2015). Fishing mortality has increased slightly each year since 2013 (ASMFC 2017)(McNamee, J 2017).

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGEMENT

Last updated on 28 May 2018

In December 2012,  management measures were approved under Amendment 2 of the FMP (Fishery Management Plan), in order to stop what was then overfishing from occurring. Conservative biomass reference points were adopted at the time, aimed at being consistent with the recently implemented fishing mortality reference points (RP), and intended to be interim RP while ecological-based reference points (ERP) are developed in 2019. These interim RP were then updated during the update assessment in 2017 (ASMFC 2017)(McNamee, J 2017).

FTarget = 0.80; set at a level corresponding to 36% of Maximum Spawning Potential (MSP)
FThreshold = 1.85; set at a level corresponding to 21% MSP

Fecundity Target (Spawning Stock Biomass (SSB) target or SSB36%MSP) = 99.5 × 1012 eggs
Fecundity Threshold (SSBThreshold or SSB21%MSP) = 57 × 1012 eggs 

Quotas have also been increased; both in 2015 and 2018. Quotas for 2018 have again increased from 198,000 t to 216,000 t (ASMFC 2017). However bycatch landings (<6,000 pounds per trip aproximately 2,686 t per year total) are not counted against this quota (ASMFC 2018).

Other management measures include: i) a coast-wide TAC of ~214,000 tonnes for 2018, which was then split up state-by-state; ii) A Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery harvest cap (new annual cap is now 98,192 tonnes for 2018), with additional specifications on the rollover of unlanded fish between years(ASMFC 2016)(ASMFC 2017) and iii) requirements for timely reporting of catch and compliance with regulations (ASMFC, 2012c) (ASMFC 2016)(MFC 2017) 

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 28 May 2018

This fishery is closely monitored. Compliance with reporting and the Chesapeake Bay harvest cap is very high. In 2017 total reduction harvest from the Chesapeake Bay was less than 20,000 t, well below the 51,000 t cap (ASMFC 2018).

Gear restrictions and closed seasons and areas in the menhaden bait fishery are easily enforced. Compliance in states where this harvest is permitted is deemed very high for area/seasonal closures and gear restrictions. However there is some uncertainty on reporting and removals by the bait fishery due to state by state differences in regulations. Coast wide harvest was below the quotas set by ASMFC in 2016 and 2017 including the bait fishery. However menhaden landed as part of the bycatch fishery, while reported, are not counted against the quota (ASMFC 2018)

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

BYCATCH
ETP Species

Last updated on 28 May 2018

Overall the purse seine fishery has some interactions with protected marine species, including birds, mammals and fish (ASMFC, 2012c). These include minke whale, humpback whale, bottlenose, Atlantic-white sided dolphin, harbor seal, grey seal, Harp seal, and harbor porpoise. Interactions are minimal however (NOAA 2018) as the fishery is listed as a Category II fishery with only occasional interactions. Harvesters are required under Category II to report interactions, as well as carry at-sea observers if requested.

Additionally, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and ASMFC have implemented a number of mitigation factors in the event that this or other fisheries are found to interact with marine mammals in deleterious way. This includes implementing a take reduction team (TRT), which can implement time area closures, gear restrictions and other measures if the menhaden purse seine fishery is found to have increased interactions with protected marine mammals, turtles, and seabird species. To date however interactions have not been a cause of concern (ASMFC 2017).

An observer program was recently required in the purse seine fishery to better evaluate interactions with sea turtles (NOAA, 2012b) but data has not been made public due to data confidentiality. It is expected that such findings will become apparent during the ongoing MSC certification process.

Other Species

Last updated on 28 May 2018

The bycatch in the Atlantic menhaden fishery is considered very low (ASMFC, 2012c). For example, Austin et al., (1994) found that bycatch of fish in the 1992 reduction fishery comprised approximately 0.04% by number. Other studies suggest, bycatch of other species is of less than 0.1% by weight (NOAA, 2012a). 

Overall however this data is rather dated and only for the large industrial purse seine fishery. An observer program was recently required in the purse seine fishery to better evaluate interactions with sea turtles (NOAA, 2012b) but data has not been made public due to data confidentiality. It is expected that such findings will become apparent during the ongoing MSC certification process. Other fisheries using purse seine gear but targeting other small pelagics (Atlantic herring) have minimal bycatch associated with them (NMFS 2015). However the bycatch data in the growing small purse seine fisheries which targets menhaden is not well known. This small fishery only comprises 20-30% of the landings however (ASMFC 2018).

HABITAT

Last updated on 28 May 2018

Atlantic menhaden is mainly caught by purse seines, which is a gear that operates in the water column. Although contact with the bottom may occasionally occur in purse seine fisheries, particularly in shallow waters, physical and biological impact on sea floor is usually low (Chuenpagdee et al., 2003; NOAA, 2012a).

Nearly all estuarine and coastal waters from Nova Scotia to Florida are important habitat for juvenile and adult Atlantic menhaden. Adults are found mainly in coastal ocean waters while juveniles are found in estuarine waters. Most of the menhaden fishery is focused in ocean waters or large estuaries. There is little to no impact from menhaden fishing to habitat in these areas (ASMFC 2011b).  

Despite this States have an obligation to restrict purse seine activities, including the fishery for menhaden, should habitat impacts be found (amend 3). Some state have in fact done so, by elimination of purse seine in state waters or by limiting the gear/season of operation, out of an abundance of precaution (ASMFC 2018).

ECOSYSTEM

Ecosystem

Information and analysis of menhaden as a forage species is currently underway. During the most recent benchmark assessment (SEDAR 2015) efforts were made to quantify the impact of menhaden removals on other predators in the region. Data included in that analysis ranged from specific food habits information for major predators, as well as back ground environmental information which could affect recruitment. Guidance from the peer review focused attention on medium scope modeling approaches to move forward.

Based on this, managers first instituted a workshop to define ecosystem reference points goals and objectives (ASMFC 2015), and then formed a Biological and Ecological Reference Points workgroup (BERP). The task of this group was to work side by side with the assessment team during the 2019 benchmark process to produce reference points to explicitly address menhaden’s role as forage in the ecosystem. This work is ongoing.

In the interim, mangers adopted precautionary reference points and low quotas specifically to address the uncertainty surround menhadens role as forage, and potential removal by commercially and recreationally important species (ASMFC 2017)(ASMFC 2018).

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 28 May 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

While F at low biomass is not explicitly set, manager have adopted conservative interim reference points for fishing mortality (Target = F at SPR 36%: Limit = F at SPR 21%) that incorporate some recognition of ecosystem function (ASMFC, 2012c)

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Managers have taken into account scientific advice to some extent (Cosby et al., 2013; ASMFC, 2012c,d ASMFC, 2015), but the bycatch fishery removals are not counted against the quota (ASMFC, 2016). Also, Ecological Reference Points, suggested by both peer review and assessment are not in place as of yet

As calculated for 2017 data.

The score is 10.0.

This measures the Catch as a percentage of the Set TAC.

The Catch is 169 ('000 t). The Set TAC is 198 ('000 t) .

The underlying Catch/Set TAC for this index is 85.5%.

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 7.2.

This measures the Fecundity as a percentage of the Fecundity target.

The Fecundity is 83500000 (M eggs). The Fecundity target is 99500000 (M eggs) .

The underlying Fecundity/Fecundity target for this index is 83.9%.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is 9.4.

This measures the F as a percentage of the F management target.

The F is 0.515 (age-averaged). The F management target is 0.800 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 64.3%.

To see data for biomass, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for catch and tac, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for fishing mortality, please view this site on a desktop.
No data available for recruitment
No data available for recruitment
To see data for management quality, please view this site on a desktop.
To see data for stock status, please view this site on a desktop.
DATA NOTES
  1. Biomass/Abundance reference points use fecundity (number of mature ova per year).
  2. Fishing mortality (F) estimates and reference points refer to full fishing mortality rates.
  3. Latest defined Reference points are extended back over the entire time series for comparative purposes.
  4. Total harvest includes data from both bait and reduction fisheries
  5. Catch from 2017 is preliminary

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

SELECT MSC

NAME

Omega Protein Corporation U.S. Atlantic menhaden purse seine

STATUS

MSC Full Assessment

Sources

Credits
  1. ASMFC, 2006b. Addendum III to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). October 2006. 6 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/addendumIII.pdf
  2. ASMFC 2006c. Atlantic Menhaden Technical Committee Meeting Summary: August 29, 2006http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/menhaden/minutes/2006/aug06TCMeetingSummary.pdf
  3. ASMFC, 2011a. Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment and Review Panel Reports: Stock Assessement Report No. 10-02. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). March 2011. 325 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/2010AtlanticMenhadenStockAssessmentAndReviewPanelReport.pdf
  4. ASMFC, 2011b. Addendum V to Amendment 1 to the Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan: Alternative Reference Points and Fishery Management Tools. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). November 2011. 17 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/atlanticMenhadenAddendumV.pdf
  5. ASMFC, 2011c. ASMFC Stock Assessment Overview: Atlantic Menhaden. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). revised on August 2011. 6 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/menhaden/reports/stockAssessments/2010MenhadenStockAssessmentOverview_August2011.pdf
  6. ASMFC, 2012a. PUBLIC INFORMATION DOCUMENT: For Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). February 2012. 24 pp.http://mrc.virginia.gov/Notices/ASMFC/ASMFC_032212.pdf
  7. ASMFC, 2012b. 2012 Atlantic Menhaden Stock Assessment Update. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). July 2012. 213 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/2012MenhadenStockAssmtUpdate_July2012.pdf
  8. ASMFC, 2012c. Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). December 2012. 102 pp. ASMFC, 2012c.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/atlanticMenhadenAmendment2_Dec2012.pdf
  9. ASMFC, 2012d. News Release: “ASMFC Approves Atlantic Menhaden Amendment 2”. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). 14 December 2012. 1 p. http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/dec12Jan13FishFocus.pdf
  10. ASMFC, 2014. News Release: First Year of Atlantic Menhaden Amendment 2 Implementation Yields Positive Results. ASMFC Arlington, VA 22201 http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/537668edpr17AtlMenhadenFisheryPerformance.pdf
  11. Austin, H.M., J.E. Kirkley, and J. Lucy, 1994.  By-catch and the fishery for Atlantic menhaden, Brevoortia tyrannus in the Mid-Atlantic Bight: An assessment of the nature and extent of by-catch.  Virginia Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, #103-260-955.
  12. Chuenpagdee, R., Morgan, L.E., Maxwell, S.M., Norse, E.A. and Pauly, D., 2003. Shifting gears: assessing collateral impacts of fishing methods in US waters. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 1, 10: 517-524.http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/1540-9295%282003%29001%5B0517:SGACIO%5D2.0.CO%3B2
  13. Cosby, Ellen, Meyers, Steve, Murphey, Trish, Vaughan, Douglas and Kerns, Toni, 2011. Review of the Fishery Management Plan and State Compliance for the 2010 Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) Fishery. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). August 2, 2011. 11 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/menhaden/fmpreviews/11MenhadenFMPreview.pdf
  14. Cosby, E., Meyers, S., Murphey, T., Meserve, N. and Waine, M., 2013. Review of the Fishery Management Plan and state compliance for the 2012 Atlantic Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) fishery. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). July 2013. 13 pp.http://www.asmfc.org/uploads/file/2013MenhadenFMPreview.pdf
  15. IUCN, 2012. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. Downloaded on 18 February 2012.http://www.iucnredlist.org
  16. Lenfest, 2012 Little Fish Big impact. Managing a crucial link in ocean food webs. Lenfest Ocean Program. Washington, DC. 108 pp.http://www.lenfestocean.org/~/media/legacy/Lenfest/PDFs/littlefishbigimpact_revised_12june12.pdf?la=en
  17. NOAA, 2012a. Fish facts: Menhaden. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Chesapeake Bay Office Webpage. Updated January 2012.http://chesapeakebay.noaa.gov/fish-facts/menhaden
  18. NOAA, 2012b. Sea Turtle Observer Requirement - Annual Determination. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): Office of Protected Resources Webpage. Updated January 6, 2012.http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/observers.htm
  19. SEDAR, 2015. SEDAR 40 Stock Assessment Report Atlantic Menhaden January 2015. Southeast Data, Assessment, and ReviewNorth Charleston, SC 29405 http://sedarweb.org/sedar-40-stock-assessment-report-atlantic-menhaden
References

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    Atlantic menhaden - NW Atlantic

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