PORTLAND, Maine - The reopening of the fishery for a species of schooling fish could boost Maine's lobster industry during a season in which its favored bait might be hard to come by.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Good news for Maine lobstermen:  Just as a scarcity of the herring they use to bait their traps has closed that fishery, state officials are expanding the fishery for another baitfish - menhaden, or pogies that have shown up in large numbers off Maine for the third year in a row. 

Green Groups, Fishermen At Odds Over New Menhaden Rules

Nov 15, 2017

Environmentalists and commercial fishing groups on the East Coast are divided over a decision to increase the amount fishermen can catch of an ecologically important small fish.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved changes to menhaden fishing rules, including an 8 percent increase in East Coast quota. The decision came Tuesday and followed a string of public hearings. The commission had been considering several new ways of managing menhaden, some of which included reducing quota.

LINTHICUM, Md. - Interstate fishing regulators are deciding whether they want to change the way they manage a tiny fish that plays a critical role in the ocean's food chain.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is taking up the subject of menhaden on Monday and Tuesday at a meeting in Linthicum, Maryland. The fish are the subject of one of the largest fisheries in the country.
Menhaden are fished to provide fish oil, feed for aquaculture operations and bait. The fish also are a key source of food for larger fish, whales and dolphins.

Scientists: Big Changes Coming For Fish Crucial To Food Chain

Oct 19, 2017
Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

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.

Fishermen hoist a net full of pogies, also known as menhaden, into their boat along a cove in West Bath, Maine, on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008. They use the fish as bait for lobstering and said they caught about 30,000 pounds.
Pat Wellenbach / AP Photo/File

A big decision about the future of a little fish is attracting the attention of ocean conservation groups.

Industry players are petitioning the Marine Stewardship Council to certify the menhaden fishery as sustainable. The London-based council’s sustainability certification is one of the most recognized seafood labels in the marketplace.

PORTLAND, Maine - Interstate fishing regulators say prospects are good for menhaden, a fish that is critical to the health of the ocean.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission says menhaden are not experiencing overfishing and their reproduction is good. The commission says the amount of menhaden that die from fishing operations is well below targeted levels.

Atlantic Menhaden Board Chair Robert Ballou says the stock's good condition gives regulators an opportunity to reevaluate how to manage the fish.

PORTLAND, Maine - Maine's Department of Marine Resources has reopened the menhaden fishery, after closing it earlier this month.

Department spokesperson Jeff Nichols says the state closed the fishery because initial reports seemed to indicate that the quota of menhaden - or pogies - for Maine, Rhode Island and New York, had been used up.

But Nichols says that's turned out not to be true. "We determined that there still are more fish to catch."

PORTLAND, Maine - A multi-state regulatory board is approving higher catch limits for Atlantic menhaden, a fish that plays important roles as bait and part of the ocean food web.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's Atlantic Menhaden Management Board voted to raise catch limits from 170,800 metric tons per year to 187,880 metric tons per year. The limits apply this year and in 2016.