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74,758 OCEAN PASSPORTS
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Save the Menhaden, Save the Atlantic Fishery

Source: New York Times/ John G. Gans - November 14, 2017 in Politics

Save the Menhaden, Save the Atlantic Fishery
Photo: Nilfanion/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Earlier this year, a couple of New Jersey anglers were fishing the waters near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge when a humpback whale nearly landed in their 19-foot boat. Their video of the encounter was watched hundreds of thousands of times and made national news, but most people likely missed one detail — the small fish that landed in the boat along with the whale.

Fishermen like myself, however, recognized it right away as an Atlantic menhaden. Anglers learn to look for that small fish, because we know that where we find menhaden, we’ll also find whales, striped bass and a wealth of other marine life. During my last striped bass fishing trip off the Rockaways, I was lucky enough to catch my fill of big stripers and see feeding by porpoises, osprey and humpbacks. It was a National Geographic experience just a few miles from Manhattan.

An important reason for bountiful catches like mine, many scientists believe, is the recovery of the menhaden, which began in 2013 after the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the government body that manages the species and others, enacted the first-ever catch limits for the fish, which is rendered into heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid fish oil and used to produce fertilizers and high-protein animal feeds.

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