Menhaden are a small, silver fish that provide an essential link in the Atlantic coast's ecosystem. They clean coastal waters by filter-feeding and provide food to endangered humpback whales, bluefin tuna and seabirds like osprey.
Menhaden and the many species of wildlife they support urgently need your help.
Atlantic coast menhaden have been reduced by nearly 90 percent since the early 1980s and they're numbers are now dangerously low. Next month, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will decide what to do about overfishing -- and hopefully reduce the numbers that can be caught each year.
Our whales, tuna and other ocean predators can't wait. Please urge the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to eliminate overfishing of menhaden immediately.
I am writing to urge the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to immediately end overfishing of menhaden. The draft amendment includes an option with no fishing reductions in 2013. This would be unacceptable.
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Menhaden provide food for other important fish, like bluefin tuna, as well as protected marine mammals and birds. At the same time, menhaden face excessive exploitation by commercial fishermen.
To reverse menhaden's steady decline and allow quick recovery, I urge you to reduce catch by at least 75 percent and consider a complete moratorium on this important forage fish for 2013.
For 2013, the draft proposal's largest option for reduction is half of recent years' catch. Any fishing above that threshold is unjustified for a forage fish in decline. You must act now to significantly reduce harvest and allow menhaden to recover and ultimately resume its role as the foundation of the ocean ecosystem.
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