Menhaden – The Most Important Fish in the Sea

Menhaden, often described as “the oily little fish nobody eats” is considered by many to be the most important fish in the sea.

Also known as bunkers, menhaden are a key food source for sportfish species like striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, king mackerel, and cobia.

As a key part of the marine ecosystem, increasing the abundance of menhaden will help ensure these popular sportfish have enough food to keep these fisheries abundant and healthy.

UPDATE - Virginia Menhaden Bill Fails to Advance

A critical piece of legislation to protect menhaden has failed to advance in Virginia’s General Assembly.

This common-sense and necessary bill would have made required updates to Virginia’s menhaden management plan to ensure a healthy menhaden population for years to come. By not passing this legislation, Virginia has missed an opportunity to support better management of the menhaden resource and all the businesses that depend on a strong menhaden population.

Menhaden play a vital role in the Chesapeake Bay’s food chain, making up an important part of the diet of sport fish such as stripers, blues, and red drum. That’s why many consider them the “most important fish in the sea.”

ASMFC Public Information Document

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ASMFC Draft Amendment

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