Menhaden, the small forage fish whose presence scientists and environmentalists recognize as an indicator of the vitality of ocean health and seafood sustainability, have been dwindling in numbers in recent years. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to drastically reduce the allowable East Coast catch of the fish in order to rebuild stores that have been depleted to near-extinction throughout the past several years.

Why is this important? Menhaden is a “crucial food for larger fish like tuna, striped bass and bluefish, as well as birds and marine mammals,” the Times reported. Sought after as fish feed and fertilizer,  menhaden have been overfished.

Paul Greenberg, author of Four Fish, and menhaden champion, Randy Fertel, both spoke on the topic at the Chefs Collaborative National Summit welcome reception in New Orleans, urging members of our network to get to know the issue and to understand the important role that small fish play in ocean conservation and seafood sustainability.   There is more work to do to promote a robust menhaden population, and we will continue to provide updates and information about this important issue.  For more information, visit: