Take Action for Forage Fish, Enjoy Better Days on the Water

Atlantic menhaden—otherwise known as bunker, pogies, and “the most important fish in the sea”—are a critical food source for striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, tarpon, and other sportfish that we love to pursue. When menhaden numbers are high, you’ll find abundant recreational fishing opportunities, which translates to strong coastal economies in the eastern U.S. Bonus: These forage fish also help maintain healthy estuary ecosystems by filtering phytoplankton and reducing harmful algae blooms.


In November, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission will vote on how to manage menhaden for their many benefits. Anglers need to speak up for our recreational fisheries by urging the commissioners to vote for an immediate plan to help forage fish sustain the sportfish at the top of the food chain—and the future of our fishing opportunities. Without support for this amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan, it might be years before the commission is able to address this issue again.

You have until October 20 to speak up for your recreational fishing opportunities. Let decision makers know that our best days on the water depend on the health of the entire food chain in the Atlantic, and that’s why we’re big advocates for these tiny forage fish. Share your story NOW.

To ensure these are read, we encourage you to consider personalizing your email subject line. 

Photo by John McMurray


  • Megan Ware, Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Fishery Management Plan Coordinator


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Dear Megan Ware,

As an avid sportsman who contributes to the $27 billion in economic activity generated by sportfishermen, I am urging you to support Option E in section 2.6 of Amendment 3 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden.

Menhaden are a critically important food source for striped bass, bluefish, summer flounder, and other sportfish that keep Americans coming back to Atlantic waters and spending money in coastal communities. Menhaden are also a key ecological force for maintaining regional water quality by filtering phytoplankton and reducing harmful algae blooms.

Under Amendment 3, the ASMFC is proposing the development of a menhaden-specific model of management that takes into account the important role this forage fish plays in the marine ecosystem as prey for a variety of species, including larger fish, birds, and marine mammals. However, this model could take years to be finalized and implemented.

Option E of Amendment 3 offers a solution that would put in place a scientifically sound management plan that ensures the menhaden population remains healthy while the ASFMC develops species-specific ecological reference points. This temporary option would put precautionary guidelines into place immediately, not years down the road.

I am one of the millions of anglers who rely on the Atlantic Ocean for my recreational fishing opportunities, and my pursuit of this activity helps bolster the local economy. I urge you to support sustainable saltwater recreational fishing by voting 'yes' on Option E of Amendment 3 at the upcoming ASMFC vote on November 13 and 14.

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