Overview of the Issue
Menhaden, also known as bunkers or pogies, are a key food source for sportfish species like striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, king mackerel and cobia. As such, menhaden are a vital species in the marine food web and the health of their population is critical to maintaining healthy populations of many other fish species in both the Atlantic and the Gulf. Nearly every predatory fish, marine mammal and bird eats them at some point in their life cycle.
The vast majority of menhaden harvested in the Atlantic are processed by a single reduction facility in Reedville, VA, operated by Omega Protein. Similarly, in the Gulf, Gulf Menhaden are harvested by Daybrook fisheries in addition to Omega Protein.
As a key part of the marine ecosystem, increasing the abundance of menhaden will help ensure popular sportfish and many other species have enough food to keep them abundant and healthy.