December 28, 2016 — A recent column by Chris Dollar (“Outdoors: The more menhaden the better,” Dec. 3) cites claims from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation that the current management of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay has left the stock running low. The column also echoes the foundation’s position that the menhaden harvest cap should be lowered. The science suggests the opposite to be the case.
In 2012, based on fears of overfishing, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission implemented a menhaden quota. Soon after the quota was implemented, scientists found the concerns of overfishing were misplaced. Further research found that menhaden are prospering coastwide. In fact, the ASMFC declared conclusively that menhaden are neither “overfished nor experiencing overfishing.”
The ASMFC has recently expressed its confidence in the health of menhaden by voting to raise the coastwide quota by 6.45 percent. This decision was backed up by a commission analysis based on nearly 9,000 simulations that found that an increase in the menhaden quota would have an almost zero percent chance of leading to overfishing.