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SUMMARY

IDENTIFICATION

Last updated on 16 February 2016

SCIENTIFIC NAME(s)

Brevoortia patronus

SPECIES NAME(s)

Gulf menhaden


ANALYSIS

Strengths
  • Per the most recent updated assessment (2016), the stock not overfished nor is overfishing occurring.
  • Biomass is very high with fishing mortality very low. 
  • Several management measures are in place to protect juveniles and spawners. Managers have recently adopted conservative target and limit reference points.
  • Managers implemented a change to the fishery management plan to incorporate stakeholder input and to incorporate new scientific advice on reference points and control rules.
  • Along with Atlantic menhaden, this stock is under review for MSC certification. Results are expected later in 2018.
Weaknesses
  • Adult abundance survey might not be adequate for providing a defensible adult abundance index.
  • For catch sampling data, sampling only the last catch of the day may be an additional source of bias. Ageing bias and imprecision could be problematic.
  • Effort controls (i.e. seasons & closed areas) rather than quotas are used to limit removals.
  • Reference points do not account for menhaden's role as a forage species under changing predator demand.
  • Neither F at low biomass nor rebuilding time frames are set within the management plan, currently. 
  • Interactions with protected marine turtles and mammals probable, but minor when compared to other fisheries. Data on these potential interactions (at-sea observer data) has been collected, but is confidential.
  • Bait landings remain a source of uncertainty, but are likely small compared to reduction landings.

FishSource Scores

Management Quality:

Management Strategy:

≥ 6

Managers Compliance:

≥ 8

Fishers Compliance:

≥ 6

Stock Health:

Current
Health:

10

Future Health:

10


RECOMMENDATIONS

RETAILERS & SUPPLY CHAIN
  • Ensure the data inputs to the stock assessment (e.g. abundance survey, catch sampling, age data, bait fishery landings) are of sufficient quality (quantity, accuracy, precision and timeliness) to support a high quality stock assessment.
  • Companies owning vessels in the Gulf menhaden fleet obtain and release the bycatch data from the government observer program (not releasable by the government because of the low number of vessels/companies observed).
  • Conduct outreach to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to encourage them to implement a precautionary annual quota based on scientific advice.
  • Conduct outreach to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to encourage them to set biomass and fishing mortality targets that account for the ecosystem services provided by menhaden as prey for many species.

FIPS

No related FIPs

CERTIFICATIONS

No related MSC fisheries

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
Gulf of Mexico US Gulf of Mexico United States Purse seines

Analysis

OVERVIEW

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Strengths
  • Per the most recent updated assessment (2016), the stock not overfished nor is overfishing occurring.
  • Biomass is very high with fishing mortality very low. 
  • Several management measures are in place to protect juveniles and spawners. Managers have recently adopted conservative target and limit reference points.
  • Managers implemented a change to the fishery management plan to incorporate stakeholder input and to incorporate new scientific advice on reference points and control rules.
  • Along with Atlantic menhaden, this stock is under review for MSC certification. Results are expected later in 2018.
Weaknesses
  • Adult abundance survey might not be adequate for providing a defensible adult abundance index.
  • For catch sampling data, sampling only the last catch of the day may be an additional source of bias. Ageing bias and imprecision could be problematic.
  • Effort controls (i.e. seasons & closed areas) rather than quotas are used to limit removals.
  • Reference points do not account for menhaden's role as a forage species under changing predator demand.
  • Neither F at low biomass nor rebuilding time frames are set within the management plan, currently. 
  • Interactions with protected marine turtles and mammals probable, but minor when compared to other fisheries. Data on these potential interactions (at-sea observer data) has been collected, but is confidential.
  • Bait landings remain a source of uncertainty, but are likely small compared to reduction landings.
RECOMMENDATIONS

Last updated on 25 May 2017

Recommendations to Retailers & Supply Chain
  • Ensure the data inputs to the stock assessment (e.g. abundance survey, catch sampling, age data, bait fishery landings) are of sufficient quality (quantity, accuracy, precision and timeliness) to support a high quality stock assessment.
  • Companies owning vessels in the Gulf menhaden fleet obtain and release the bycatch data from the government observer program (not releasable by the government because of the low number of vessels/companies observed).
  • Conduct outreach to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to encourage them to implement a precautionary annual quota based on scientific advice.
  • Conduct outreach to the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission to encourage them to set biomass and fishing mortality targets that account for the ecosystem services provided by menhaden as prey for many species.

1.STOCK STATUS

STOCK ASSESSMENT

Last updated on 29 May 2018

While the methodology of the most recent benchmark assessment was similar to past assessments, there were many substantial changes as well.  These include aging error estimations, inclusion of adult indices, a variable natural mortality at age and a better estimation of uncertainty (SEDAR, 2013). Bait landing are still a source of uncertainty though thought to be fairly small compared to the reduction landings. Most recent assessment update is 2016 with a terminal year of 2015 (GDAR 2016). Gulf menhaden is undergoing a benchmark peer review via the SEDAR process. Results should be available in late 2018.

SCIENTIFIC ADVICE

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Each year scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service, as part of a larger group from the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, make quantitative forecasts of nominal fishing effort purse-seine landings by the reduction fishery, based on historical landings and fishing effort records. Additionally, scientific advice is given on stock status relative to newly adopted reference points every three years. Most recent assessment update was 2016 with a terminal year of 2015.(GDAR 2016). Gulf menhaden is undergoing a benchmark peer review via the SEDAR process. Results should be available in late 2018.

CURRENT STATUS

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Currently, the stock is not overfished nor overfishing is occurring. The population fecundity of Gulf menhaden is well above the benchmarks while fishing mortality is well below benchmarks (GDAR 2016). Overall the stock appears to be in very good shape. Most recent assessment is 2016 with a terminal year of 2015.

After a continuous increase during almost 40 years (1948-1984), landings showed a decreasing trend since the mid-80s. Recent landings have spiked to well above average.  Landings for 2016 of ~618,000 t are preliminary estimates from (NMFS 2018) and include reduction landings of 484,750 t (Mroch, R 2017). The 2017 reduction landings were 460,707 t (Mroch, R n.d.). Reduction landings tend to dominate the total landings. As such the high estimate in 2016 is likely erroneous, but added in the data until the benchmark assessment is released late in 2018.

Overall biomass/fecundity has remained highly variable, but fecundity is currently well above benchmarks. Fishing mortality has declined over the last few decades and is well below benchmarks (GDAR 2016). 

2.MANAGEMENT QUALITY

MANAGERS' DECISIONS

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Stock is managed by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission and individual states of Florida through Texas. Managers recently adopted precautionary reference points, but those do not explicitly account for predator removals or demand (GSMFC, 2013). Managers have also adopted an MSY proxy between F30% and F35% resulting in removals of 862,361 mt and 829,737 mt, respectively (GDAR 2016)

Managers have set precautionary Spawner Per Recruit-type reference points for this fishery.  The biomass limit reference point of SSB30% limit was chosen with and a target reference point of SSB35% target. Reference points for biomass are in terms of fecundity and recently re-calculated in the updated assessment  to 41,605  and 50,635  billions of eggs respectively(GDAR 2016).

Mortality reference points are in terms of fishing mortality rate (F) at those biomass points with an Fthreshold of 5.98 and an Ftarget of 4.28 (GDAR 2016). Both target and limit reference points are in use (GSMFC, 2013). However, prescribed management action to reduce F to FMSY (or proxy) is not in place if Fthreshold is exceeded. Also, ecosystem based reference points which can account for changing predator demand are not in use in this fishery and have been listed as med/high priority in both the benchmark assessment report (SEDAR, 2013) and management plan (GSMFC, 2015).

COMPLIANCE

Last updated on 7 April 2017

There is no coastwide catch limit for gulf menhaden; only Texas has recently adopted its own catch quota. However, managers examined the use of quotas but decided to not implement them at this time (GSMFC, 2015).  According to Vaughan et al. (2011), vessel compliance with reporting requirements is near 100%, but there are some uncertainties with regards to bait landings and reporting (SEDAR, 2013).

3.ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY

ETP SPECIES

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Incidental takes of bottlenose dolphins Tursiops truncatus (IUCN red list 2013: Least Concern) and sea turtles are known to occur in the Gulf menhaden purse seine fishery, though interactions are only rated a probable by NMFS as a category II fishery. Recently the fishery was upgraded from a category III to a category II fishery (NMFS, 2014) where it remains (NOAA 2018). Overall interactions are thought to be minimal.

An observer program was implemented but the results are confidential (NMFS 2016)It is likely that more data are forthcoming as this stock is evaluated for MSC certification.

Additionally, NMFS has 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. 

OTHER TARGET AND BYCATCH SPECIES

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Bycatch of other fin-fish in the Gulf menhaden fishery is assumed to be generally low. Data from different studies shows bycatch percentages ranging from 1 and 2.8% by weight (VanderKooy et al., 2002 and SEDAR, 2013).  However much of this analysis is based on older data. Other fisheries using purse seine gear but targeting other small pelagics (Atlantic herring) have minimal bycatch associated with them (NMFS 2015). As such data on bycatch needed on the Gulf of Mexico menhaden fishery. Such information is likely to become apparent during the certification process of MSC.

Overall managers have set bycatch limits.  As outlined in SEDAR (2013), a possession limit of 5% of non-menhaden has been instituted by all of the Gulf States, though whether by weight, volume of individuals varies by state. Some states include other schooling pelagics (anchovies, herrings, etc.) while other states exclude them form the calculations.

HABITAT

Last updated on 29 May 2018

Menhaden is mainly caught by purse seines, which is a gear that operates in the water column. Although effects on habitat and seafloor are typically minimal for pelagic gears, contact with the bottom is frequent in the gulf menhaden purse seine fishery, in contrast to the Atlantic fishery. This results in sediment suspension. However, the habitat impacts resulting from this gear are not known in detail (Barnette, 2001). 

Comprehensive habitat data mapping for the Gulf of Mexico region is available from both federal (NOAA 2018) as well as state efforts (SEMAP 2018).

Additionally, while there are no full Marine Reserves in the area of the fishery there are numerous areas closed to fishing by the menhaden fleet. Closed areas and seasons are generally used to protect juvenile menhaden from premature harvest, and to protect spawners during the spawning season. Each state sets specific closed areas and seasons for statewide waters. In general, fishing in bays or rivers is not permitted (VanderKooy et al., 2002). These closures not only protect menhaden but other species and habitat as well.

FishSource Scores

Last updated on 29 May 2018

SELECT SCORES

MANAGEMENT QUALITY

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

A fishery management plan is in place and precautionary reference points have been adopted.Like many other US fisheries however, F at low biomass has not been adopted. While the scientific body recognizes that menhaden are in good shape, a formal rebuilding time frame should the stock fall below fecundity thresholds has not been established.

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 8.

Managers generally comply with scientific advice (VanderKooy et al., 2002)and have recently instituted precautionary reference points in line with scientific recommendations (GSMFC, 2015).

As calculated for 2016 data.

The score is ≥ 6.

Fishermen comply with regulations (GSMFC, 2002; Vaughan et al., 2011, SEDAR 2013). According to Vaughan et al. (2011), vessel compliance with reporting requirements is near 100%. Bait landings are still a source of uncertainty though thought to be fairly small compared to the reduction landings

STOCK HEALTH:

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The Fecundity is 146000000 (M eggs). The Fecundity target is 50600000 (M eggs) .

The underlying Fecundity/Fecundity target for this index is 288%.

As calculated for 2015 data.

The score is 10.0.

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

The F is 0.630 (age-averaged). The F management target is 4.28 .

The underlying F/F management target for this index is 14.7%.

HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE RISK

High Medium Low

This indicates the potential risk of human rights abuses for all fisheries operating within this stock or assessment unit. If there are more than on risk level noted, individual fisheries have different levels. Click on the "Select Scores" drop-down list for your fisheries of interest.

No data available for recruitment
DATA NOTES
  1.  Stock is managed using reference points based on fecundity (number of mature eggs per year) rather than SSB .
  2.  Fishing mortality (F) estimates are full fishing mortality rates.
  3.  Latest defined Reference points are extended back over the entire time series for comparative purposes.
  4.  The Gulf Menhaden fishery is not quota managed, thus scores re managers and fishers' compliance have been qualitatively determined.
  5.  F at low biomass has not been adopted so Score 1 was also qualitatively determined.
  6.  Assessment last updated Oct 2016 with a recalculation of reference points
  7. Landing data for 2016 are preliminary 
  8. Landings for 2016 (618,000 t) could be erroneously high (see Current Trend) but included in the data until updated via the benchmark late 2018.

Download Source Data

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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs)

No related FIPs

Certifications

Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)

No related MSC certifications

Sources

Credits
  1. Barnette, M.C. 2001. A review of the fishing gear utilized within the Southeast Region and their potential impacts on essential fish habitat. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEF SC-44 9, 62 pp. https://www.sefsc.noaa.gov/P_QryLDS/download/TM430_TM-449.pdf?id=LDS
  2. GSMFC. 2013. Sixty-Fourth Annual Report (2013)    http://www.gsmfc.org/publications/annual%20reports/annual%20report%20of%20the%20gsmfc%2064.pdf
  3. GSMFC, 2015. The Menhaden Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, United States: Final. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. http://www.gsmfc.org/publications/GSMFC%20Number%20099.pdf
  4. IUCN, 2013. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. Downloaded on 24 February 2014.http://www.iucnredlist.org
  5. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2011. Scientists to Observe Gulf Menhaden Fishery for Bycatch Impacts. National Marine Fisheries Service website. [accessed on June 5, 2012].http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/05/16_scientists_observe_gulf_menhaden_fishery_bycatch_impacts.html
  6. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), 2012. Forecast for the 2012 Gulf and Atlantic Menhaden Purse-Seine Fisheries and Review of the 2011 Fishing Season. March 2012. Beaufort, NC. 8 pp.http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/st1/market_news/menhaden_forecast_2012.pdf
  7. NMFS, 2014. The 2014 list of fisheries final action: 1 Gulf of Mexico Menhaden Purse Seine Fishery, NMFS office of protected resourceshttp://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/pdfs/fisheries/lof2012/gulfofmexico_menhaden_purse_seine.pdf
  8. SEDAR. 2013. SEDAR 32A - Gulf of Mexico menhaden Stock Assessment Report. SEDAR, North Charleston SC. 422 pphttp://sedarweb.org/docs/sar/S32A_GoM_Menhaden_SAR_Final_9.26.2013.pdf
  9. VanderKooy, Steven J. and Smith, Joseph W., 2002. The Menhaden Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, United States: A Regional Management Plan. Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC). Number 99, March 2002. 143 pp.http://www.gsmfc.org/publications/GSMFC%20Number%20099.pdf
  10. Vaughan, D., Schueller, A., Smith, J. and VanderKooy, S., 2011. SEDAR 27: Gulf Menhaden Stock Assessment Report. Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR). December 5, 2011. 492 pp. http://cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prplans/pdfs/Final%20Work%20Product%20SEDAR27%20Menhaden.pdf
  11. Vaughan, D. Shertzer, K. Smith, J. 2007. Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico: Fishery characteristics and biological reference points for management. Fisheries Research 83 (2007) 263–275. http://menhaden.gsmfc.org/FishRes_Vaughan_etal_2007-GM.pdf
  12. NMFS, March 2008. Forecast for the 2008 Gulf and Atlantic Menhaden Purse-Seine Fisheries and Review of the 2007 Fishing Season, NMFS Sustainable Fisheries Branch, Beaufort NC, March 2008
References

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