According to a review of the over 1,200-page meeting materials document (which can be found at www.asmfc.org), over 114,000 public comments were submitted and the overwhelming majority are calling for significant reforms in menhaden fishing.
Amongst the critical questions RFA has been asking for years that will be answered at this meeting are:
1. Will ASMFC end what RFA has claimed for many years; massive reduction fishing has resulted in overfishing of menhaden? Will ASMFC finally bring an end to this overfishing of what is known as "The Most Important Fish In The Sea?" RFA is calling for immediate cuts in reduction fishing and demands overfishing end within three years.
2. Will ASMFC finally bring Menhaden management into modern times and set an overall coastwide quota or Total Allowable Catch (TAC) on menhaden fishing?
3. Will ASMFC PROTECT OUR BAIT SUPPLY by setting a fair and reasonable allocation of this needed forage/bait fish? Currently the management approach has allowed the industrial reduction fishing industry to dominate landings by accounting for 80% of total fishing mortality. What ASMFC refers to as the Bait Harvesters is more accurately described as what has been left for the rest of the east coast's commerical & recreational stakeholders not to mention the natural predator fish we love to catch. RFA is calling for a fair and reasonable allocation of the total coastal catch that gives preference to the importance of the bait fishery as well as the predatory fish that are critical to the recreational sector.
WE NEED RFA MEMBERS TO ATTEND!!! The corporate managers of Omega Protein have notified ASMFC Staff that they are sending two busses of their employees to the meeting. Recreational organizations of all perspectives are rallying the troops from New England to Florida and its time to remind the ASMFC that RFA has been in this fight for over a decade. The political fisheries management lines have been drawn and it is time to "BUNKER DOWN."
Please consider taking one day to attend this meeting.
Attached you will find the RFA official comment document.
RFA has been working with many groups like our long time friends at Maryland Saltwater Sportsmen's Association under the banner of Save Menhaden. Wearing your RFA LOGO will gain you entrance to a complimentary Save Menhaden "Bunker Bunker" where coffee and refreshments will be available all day for Save Menhaden affiliated members.
For more information, call the RFA headquarters at 888-JOIN RFA (564-6732).
See RFA's latest ASMFC comments at:
About Recreational Fishing Alliance
The Recreational Fishing Alliance is a national, grassroots political action organization representing recreational fishermen and the recreational fishing industry on marine fisheries issues. The RFA Mission is to safeguard the rights of saltwater anglers, protect marine, boat and tackle industry jobs, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our Nation's saltwater fisheries. For more information, call 888-JOIN-RFA or visit www.joinrfa.org.