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Fisheries > USA - Atlantic menhaden -Purse Seine - FAO 21

USA – Atlantic menhaden – Purse seine - FAO 21

Species: Brevoortia tyrannus (Atlantic menhaden)
Gear type: Purse seine
Fishing Area: FAO Area 21, Northwest Atlantic

Fishery management: The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is the competent fishery management organisation.

ASMFC conducts two types of stock assessments: a benchmark stock assessment and a stock assessment update. The former is a full analysis and review of the stock condition, focusing on the consideration of new data sources and newer assessment models. This assessment is conducted every three to five years and undergoes a formal peer review by a panel of independent fisheries scientists who evaluate whether the data and methods used to produce the assessment are scientifically sound and appropriate for management use. The latter incorporates data from the most recent years into the peer-reviewed assessment model to determine current stock status (abundance and overfishing level).

Stock status: Based on the revised reference points recommended by the 2015 benchmark stock assessment, the stock of Atlantic menhaden is neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing. The revised reference points are based on historical performance of the population during the time frame 1960-2012, a period during which the Technical Committee considers the population to have been sustainably fished.

Fishing mortality rates have remained below the revised overfishing threshold (1.26) since the 1960s, and have hovered around the revised overfishing target (0.38) through the 1990s. In 2003, fishing mortality was estimated to be 0.22. Fishing mortality has been decreasing throughout the history of the fishery, and is now 42% below the target.


Habitat impact: The fleet uses purse seine, which is set in the water column, with only occasional interaction with the seabed and hence low impact on the benthic communities.

Bycatch and discards: The fishery maintains records of bycatch and discards. The fishing gear used is highly selective and an excluder device is used to exclude large animals from the tube used to pump fish on board the vessel.


Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)



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