DNREC holding public hearing on changes to Atlantic Menhaden plan

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Tonight DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife will host public hearing on a proposed amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden. The amendment seeks to balance menhaden’s ecological role as a prey species with the needs of commercial and recreational fishers.

The amendment considers the use of ecosystem reference points –or ERPs– to keep tabs on menhaden population numbers, and also presents management options for the commercial menhaden fishery. Officials say ERPs provide a method to assess the status of menhaden within the broad ecosystem context, which is important since they are a staple food for a variety of species including striped bass, eagles, osprey, whales and dolphin. As a result, changes in menhaden population can drastically impact populations higher up the food chain.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 in the DNREC Auditorium, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.