REEDVILLE, VA / ACCESSWIRE / February 14, 2020 / Omega Protein is pleased with the results of the newest Atlantic menhaden stock assessments released by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) last week, which once again show that menhaden is healthy and sustainable. According to current reference points, menhaden are neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing.
"The newly released menhaden assessments are great news for all menhaden stakeholders, and are a strong sign for the future of menhaden management," said Ben Landry, Director of Public Affairs for Omega Protein. "We look forward to working with the Commission on the best possible management of this sustainable resource."
This year, the ASMFC conducted two separate assessments: an improved, updated version of the long-running single-species assessment, and a second, ecosystem assessment incorporating models estimating menhaden's role in the ecosystem and its effect on predator species. The second assessment is part of the ASMFC's continued effort to move to ecosystem-based fisheries management for menhaden.
The latest version of single-species assessment makes several improvements on the existing model, including revised estimates of natural mortality and menhaden spawning stock biomass. The expert peer review panel responsible for evaluating the assessment concluded that the "estimates of biomass, abundance and exploitation rates presented in the [single-species assessment] are the best available estimates, and that these estimates provide strong evidence that Atlantic menhaden are neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing." It similarly found that the current, single-species reference points were "appropriate."
The ecosystem-based assessment represents the first attempt to model menhaden's relationship with other species, especially predator species such as striped bass. Going forward, the ecosystem model will be a key tool in estimating the effects of current menhaden management, and in determining if current reference points and catch levels are currently meeting the needs of predators.
"Ecosystem-based management is the future of fisheries management, including the menhaden fishery," said Mr. Landry. "We think this ecosystem-based assessment is a first step in the right direction, and is a major contribution to the understanding of Atlantic menhaden and its contribution to the ecosystem."
About Omega Protein
Omega Protein Corporation is a century old nutritional product company that develops, produces and delivers healthy products throughout the world to improve the nutritional integrity of foods, dietary supplements and animal feeds. Omega Protein's mission is to help people lead healthier lives with better nutrition through sustainably sourced ingredients such as highly refined specialty oils, specialty proteins products and nutraceuticals. Omega Protein is a division of Cooke Inc., a family owned fishery company based in New Brunswick, Canada.
The Company operates seven manufacturing facilities located in the United States, Canada and Europe. The Company also has a long-term supply contract with Ocean Harvesters, which owns 30 vessels which harvest menhaden, a fish abundantly found off the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. The Company's website is www.omegaprotein.com.
All fishing vessels formerly owned by Omega Protein are owned and operated by Ocean Harvesters, an independent company.
SOURCE: Omega Protein