Atlantic Menhaden FMP Amendment 3

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atlantic menhaden school
Atlantic Menhaden    credit: NOAA Fisheries

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) recently approved Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Menhaden.

The Amendment maintains the management program’s current single-species biological reference points until the review and adoption of menhaden-specific ecological reference points as part of the 2019 benchmark stock assessment process.

Amendment 3 also addresses a suite of commercial management measures including allocation, quota transfers, quota rollovers, incidental catch, the episodic events set aside program, and the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery cap.

In addition to its Amendment 3 deliberations, the Board set the total allowable catch for the 2018 and 2019 fishing seasons at 216,000 metric tons (mt) with the expectation that the setting of the TAC for subsequent years will be guided by menhaden-specific ecological reference points.

Amendment 3 also changes fishery allocations. The Amendment allocates a baseline quota of 0.5% to each jurisdiction, and then allocates the rest of the TAC based on historic landings between 2009 and 2011.

The plan will maintain the quota transfer process, prohibit the rollover of unused quota, maintain the 6,000 lb trip limit for non-directed and small-scale gears following the closure of a directed fishery, and set aside 1% of the TAC for episodic events in the states of New York through Maine.


Amendment 3 State Allocations (allocation percentages based on a 0.5% fixed minimum during the 2009-2011 timeframe.)

Maine 0.52%

New Hampshire 0.50%

Massachusetts 1.27%

Rhode Island 0.52%

Connecticut 0.52%

New York 0.69%

New Jersey 10.87%

Pennsylvania 0.50%

Delaware 0.51%

Maryland 1.89%

Potomac River Fisheries Commission 1.07%

Virginia 78.66%

North Carolina 0.96%

South Carolina 0.50%

Georgia 0.50%

Florida 0.52%

Total 100%


Finally, the Amendment reduces the Chesapeake Bay cap, which was first implemented in 2006 to limit the amount of reduction harvest within the Bay, to 51,000 mt from 87,216 mt.

The Chesapeake Bay cap recognizes the importance of the estuary as nursery grounds for many species by capping recent reduction landings from the Bay to current levels.

States must submit implementation plans to the Commission by January 1, 2018 for final implementation by April 15, 2018.

Amendment 3 will be available on the Commission’s website,, by the end of November.

source: Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission