OCEAN SPRINGS, MS / ACCESSWIRE / November 9, 2021 / The Gulf menhaden population has once again been confirmed to be sustainably harvested, based on the results of a recently approved stock assessment conducted by NOAA Fisheries biologists and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC). Managers at the GSMFC approved the final assessment at their annual meeting in late October.
The assessment, which is based on data from the Gulf menhaden fishery for 2018-2020, finds that Gulf menhaden are neither overfished, nor are they experiencing overfishing. This confirms the results of the last major Gulf menhaden assessment, released in 2019, which reached the same conclusions about the health of the species.
The assessment document went so far as to state that "In general, there is little risk of overfishing or of being overfished." This statement truly drives home the point that this is a very healthy stock and responsible fishery.
"This latest assessment continues a long trend of positive information coming out about this fishery, which has long been healthy and sustainable," said Ben Landry, Director of Public Affairs for Ocean Harvesters, which operates a fleet of menhaden fishing vessels.
"This positive assessment validates that the current Gulf menhaden fishing effort is at a level which is both responsible and sustainable," said Francois Kuttel of Westbank Fishing.
In addition to its conclusions about the overall state of the Gulf menhaden stock, the assessment also finds several other positive indicators for the species. It found that menhaden abundance was particularly strong in 2018, and that fishing mortality is stable and well below historic highs. These indicators support the overall conclusion that overfishing is not an issue with Gulf menhaden.
Gulf menhaden has been internationally recognized as a sustainable fishery. Since 2019, the fishery has been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), the most prominent international seafood certification program. Much like this assessment, the MSC certification cited the long-term health of the menhaden population, as well as noting the limited environmental impact of the fishery.
About the MFC
The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition (MFC) is a collective of menhaden fishermen, related businesses, and supporting industries. Comprised of businesses along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition conducts media and public outreach on behalf of the menhaden industry to ensure that members of the public, media, and government are informed of important issues, events, and facts about the fishery.
SOURCE: Menhaden Fisheries Coalition