ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Board Approves Addendum to Extend Menhaden Reduction Fishery Cap for 3 Years

The Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board approved Addendum IV to Amendment 1 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. Addendum IV extends the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery harvest cap, established through Addendum III, for an additional three years (2011 – 2013). Under the Addendum, the Board will annually review measures to determine if they are appropriate given the most recent information available about the stock and fishery. At any future meeting, the Board can initiate development of additional or alternative management measures.

The Board’s action was requested by the Commonwealth of Virginia in order to accommodate its legislative process as well as ensure that the current management program is extended while menhaden research efforts continue. Virginia’s legislature, which convenes in January each year, is responsible for regulating the menhaden reduction fishery in state waters. With Addendum IV in place this year, Virginia state administrators can work with the legislature in early 2010 to amend Virginia law to extend the harvest cap without the current cap expiring.

Addendum III established the current annual cap of 109,020 metric tons on reduction fishery harvests in Chesapeake Bay as a precautionary measure while research was conducted to address the question of menhaden abundance in the Bay. The cap was first instituted in 2006 to extend through 2010. With adoption of Addendum IV that cap will be extended through 2013 with the following provisions.  Harvest for reduction purposes is prohibited in Chesapeake Bay when 100% of the cap is landed. Over-harvest in any given year will be deducted from the next year’s quota. Under-harvest in one year will be credited only to the following year’s cap, not to exceed 122,740 metric tons. Since 2006, reduction landings of menhaden from Chesapeake Bay have not exceeded the cap of 109,020 metric tons.

A copy of Addendum IV will be available via the Commission’s website at under Breaking News by November 13, 2009.  For more information, please contact Braddock Spear, Senior FMP Coordinator for Policy, at (202) 289-6400 or

source: ASMFC press release