8/21/2000 Letter To Mr. William Pruitt, Chairman Atlantic Menhaden Management Board
Mr. William Pruitt, Chairman
Atlantic Menhaden Management Board
18010 Northside Road
Onancock VA 23417
Dear Mr. Pruitt:
The Chesapeake Bay Acid Rain Foundation is requesting that the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board take emergency action to conserve the depleted stock of Atlantic Menhaden in accordance with Section Six of the Interstate Fisheries Management Program Charter of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
Section Six: Standards and Procedures for Interstate Fishery Management Plans (Emergencies). (Definitions of Emergencies) “The provisions under this subsection shall only apply in those circumstances under which … the conservation of coastal fishery resources … has been placed substantially at risk by unanticipated changes in the ecosystem, the stock, or the fishery.”
The Chesapeake Bay is an important nursery area for Atlantic Menhaden and has been reported to account for 35-40% of the Atlantic Menhaden’s recruitment along the east coast of the United States. The recruitment index in both Maryland and Virginia has indicated extremely poor recruitment in recent years, causing unanticipated changes in the stock, the fishery, and the ecosystem. A number of these changes were pointed out in our letter to the AMMB, dated May 12, 1999, when the Chesapeake Bay Acid Rain Foundation requested that the AMMB ban the harvest of Age-0 Atlantic Menhaden along the entire Atlantic coast and restrict the harvest of Age-1 and Age-2 Atlantic Menhaden by the reduction fishery in the Chesapeake Bay. The ASMFC advised the reduction fishing industry “to avoid to the extent practicable, the harvest of Age-0 menhaden”, however, an estimated 194 million Age-0 Atlantic Menhaden were landed at the close of the 1999 season.
The CBARF is now formally asking the AMMB to take emergency action through the Interstate Fisheries Management Program Charter that would prevent the harvest of large numbers of Age-0 Atlantic Menhaden, and restrict the harvest of Age-1 and Age-2 Atlantic Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
James E. Price
cc: Congressman Wayne Gilchrest
Jamie Geiger, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Penelope W. Dalton, Asst. Admin. NMFS
John Dunnigan, Executive Directory ASMFC
Dr. Sarah Taylor Rogers, Secretary, MD-DNR