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Scientists: Big Changes Coming For Fish Crucial To Food Chain

Robert F. Bukaty
/
Associated Press
In this June 20, 2014, file photo a load of menhaden is dumped onto a conveyer belt to be salted and packaged for lobster bait, in Port Clyde, Maine.

PORTLAND, Maine - Conservationists and fishing groups say big changes potentially coming to the management of a tiny fish could have huge implications for the ocean ecosystem and marine industries on the East Coast.
 
Interstate regulators are considering altering the way they manage menhaden, including reducing the amount of the fish that can be caught by commercial fishermen.
 
The schooling fish are used in products such as fish oil supplements. U.S. fishermen catch more than a billion pounds of menhaden each year.
 
An Atlantic fishery is looking to rework management of menhaden with an eye toward the fact that scientists say it is one of the most important fish in the sea because of its role in the ocean food chain.
 
The subject's up for a key vote on Nov. 13 in Linthicum, Maryland.