• Ben Martens

PODCAST: Menhaden Updates with Megan Ware of Maine DMR

Updated: Sep 29

To Comment on the Menhaden Addendum. Details are HERE

Menhaden have been referred to as "the most important fish in the sea" by at least one author (book) due to their importance to the Atlantic ecosystem. For over a decade in the 2000s, menhaden were commercially absent from the Gulf of Maine and herring were the predominant forage and bait source in Maine. Recently though, the menhaden biomass has rebounded which has allowed the species to expand its range into the Gulf of Maine allowing it to become a pelagic bait fishery for Maine fishermen once again.

With the menhaden dramatically changing their presence north of Cape Cod over a short period of time, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is working to reassess who gets to catch those fish at a time when many are looking to access to this valuable fishery.

In this episode of Maine Coast Dock Talk, we're joined by Megan Ware of the Department of Marine Resources, to walk us through menhaden management, outline what's been happening within this fishery, why the allocation setting process is so hard, why Maine had to shut down the fishery this fall, and how fishermen can add their voice to the management of Menhaden.

You can find Maine Coast Dock Talk everywhere you listen to podcasts.

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If you are interested in commenting on the ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Draft Addendum I to Amendment 3 of the Menhaden Fishery Management Plan

The public comment document can be found HERE

Comments will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST on September 30, 2022.

email (subject line: Atlantic Menhaden Draft Addendum I)

To download a draft comment letter to start your comments from click below

DRAFT Fishermens Menhaden Letter
Download DOCX • 17KB


ASMFC’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board’s Addendum 1 to Amendment 3 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan


The intent of the Addendum is to align state quotas with recent landings and resource availability while maintaining access to the resource for all states, reduce dependence on quota transfers and minimize regulatory discards. It presents several options to achieve this.

Proposed Changes:

  • Minimum allocation & time frame used (3.1.1, 3.1.2): Changes to the baseline quota of 0.5% as well as the time frame used to determine allocation

  • Episodic Event Set-Aside (EESA) (3.2.1): Gives the Board the ability to increase the EESA from 1% up to 5% with the option for this to be permanent or changeable at a set time frame

  • Incidental Catch and Small Scale Fisheries Provision (IC/SSF): Changes to: timing (3.3.1), permitted gear types (3.3.2), trip limits (3.3.3), catch accounting (3.3.4)


3.1.1 Minimum allocation

Option A. Status Quo: Each state is allocated a 0.5% fixed minimum quota

Option B. Three-tiered fixed minimum approach: This option would assign states into three tiers based on landings data

Tier 1: 0.01%: Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Georgia

Tier 2: 0.25%: Connecticut, Delaware, North Carolina, and Florida

Tier 3: 0.50%: remaining states (Maine)

3.1.2 Time frame used for allocation

Option 1. Status Quo: Three-year average of landings from 2009-2011

Option 2. Change time frame: 2018, 2019 & 2021

Option 3. Weighted time frames include both recent and historical time frames with sub-options of different weighting values.

· Sub-Option 1. 25% 2009-2011 / 75% 2018, 2019 & 2021 – This weighting strategy emphasizes the more recent time frame.

· Sub-Option 2. 50% 2009-2011 / 50% 2018, 2019 & 2021 – This strategy weights both time frames evenly

Option 4. Moving Average Use a three-year moving average to annually adjust allocations as the stock and fishery dynamics change.

4A. No alterations to the Option. Total landings will be used in the calculations under this option.

4B. Limit states’ moving average landings if total landings exceed the TAC. State landings less than or equal to the coast-wide TAC would be used in the calculation of the moving average, regardless of the source.


3.2.1 Episodic Event Set-Aside (EESA)

Option 1. Status Quo: The EESA would remain at 1% of the total coast-wide TAC.

Option 2. Increase up to 5% - The Board can increase the EESA from 1% up to 5%. The designated percentage of EESA would be subtracted from the total coast-wide TAC prior to the distribution of allocation to states.

Sub-option 1. EESA is set as a static amount of 1-5%

Sub-option 2. EESA is set as a flexible amount to be reset at a designated time.


3.3.1 Timing of IC/SSF Provision:

Option 1. Status Quo: Once a quota allocation is reached for a given state, the fishery moves to an incidental catch fishery.

Option 2. IC/SSF Begins once sector/fishery/gear type allocation within a state is met: Once a sector/fishery/gear type specific allocation is reached for a state, that state’s sector/fishery/gear type fishery can begin landing catch under the IC/SSF provision.

Option 3. IC/SSF Begins Entire state’s allocation met: Once the entire quota allocation for a given state is reached, regardless of sector/fishery/gear type fishery allocations, the fishery can begin landing under the IC/SSF provision.

3.3.2 Permitted Gear Types of the of IC/SSF Provision

Option 1. Status Quo: No changes to permitted gear types (both small-scale directed gears and non-directed gears).

Sub-Option 1 Status Quo: All gear types will retain the classifications as defined in Amendment 3.

Sub-Option 2. Fyke nets will be reclassified as non-directed gear.

Sub-Option 3. Fyke nets and trammel nets will be reclassified as non-directed gear.

Option 2. No purse seines allowed under IC/SSF. All other small-scale and non-directed gears allowed.

Option 3. Only Non-directed gears allowed.

3.3.3 Trip Limits

Option 1. Status Quo Small-scale gear and non-directed gear types may land up to 6,000 pounds of menhaden per trip per day.

Option 2. 4,500 pound trip limit for directed gear types

Option 3. 3,000 pound trip limit for directed gear types

3.3.4 Catch Accounting

Option 1.Status Quo IC/SSF landings do not count against a state allocation nor the annual TAC Option 2.Landings are evaluated against the annual TAC.

Option 2A. Modify the Trip Limit for Permitted Gear Types The Board will reduce the trip limit for one or more permitted gear types in the IC/SSF provision.

Option 2B. Modify Permitted Gear Types The Board will eliminate one or more gear types from the IC/SSF provision.