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Decline In Menhaden Populations Threatens Survival For Other Fish

If you've never heard of menhaden it's probably because they aren't exactly good eating -- not to humans anyway. However they are often a favorite food for the fish that we do like to eat -- and those we just know andMenhaden (Photo by Brian Gratwicke/Creative Commons via Wikimedia)Menhaden (Photo by Brian Gratwicke/Creative Commons via Wikimedia) love. So the seriously declining numbers of menhaden along the Atlantic coast could spell doom for more than just that one species of fish.

While humans may not eat these fish in this day and age, they were once eaten like sardines by early Americans, and were the fish that Squanto taught the pilgrims to plant with their corn as fertilizer. Fertilizer, fish oil and fish meal are the current commercial uses of the fish. Other marine creatures such as striped bass, bluefish, flounder, dolphin, and whales as well as birds such as ospreys, loons and pelicans feed heartily on menhaden.

Menhaden In The Hold Of A Vessel (Public Domain Image)Menhaden In The Hold Of A Vessel (Public Domain Image)For many areas the fishing of menhaden is considered sustainable, but the Chesapeake Bay, where the bulk of the fishing has taken place the fish is declining most rapidly. Fishing limits to help restore the population there are being proposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. All of the states along the East Coast must agree to these limits.

The one possible sticking point in the adoptionof these limits is the state of Virginia. In Virginia decisions about fisheries are made by the Marine Resources Commission which works for conservation and management. The one exception to this standard is just one species -- the menhaden. The fate of this fish is in the hands of the state's General Assembly, a body with a different agenda for how it makes decisions.

The state of Virginia has managed to come through to help other marine species such as the striped bass and the blue crab, but those decisions did not have to pass through the General Assembly. Hopefully the politicians and lobbyists will realize how important it is to help with the recovery of menhaden population is to both fish and men.

Sources: Washington Post, Wikipedia 

Laurie Kay Olson
Animal News Blogger
PetsLady.com

Comments
Dec 10, 2012
by Anonymous
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The Bush Family responsible

The Bush Family responsible for Menhaden Slaughter

Omega Protein fleet decimates the Chesapeake Bay and (migrating) New England menhaden. With their spotter aircraft and 27 industrial purse seiners, why the menhaden, and all the game fish that depend upon them, especially striped bass and bluefin tuna, haven’t got a chance. If the Coast Guard wants something to do, I’d suggest that they start with the Zapata oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico!

Question: Who really owns the menhaden purse seine fleet and its spotter aircraft?

Answer: the Bush family through Zapata Oil Company and through a series of shell corporations.

Next question: where did Zapata oil make its money?

Answer: Because Zapata Oil’s Gulf of Mexico oil platforms were unable, in the sixties and seventies, to compete with OPEC and their super tankers, why, Zapata went the more lucrative alternative…..

That would be using their offshore oil platforms as transshipment points for South American cocaine. A CIA operation, no less! That way the helicopters and launches returning from Zapata’s Gulf oil rigs to the continental United States did not have to clear Customs. Clever, don’t you think?

Fellow Virginia sports fishermen, next time you talk to the Virginia’s Governor or a member of the Virginia General Assembly, ask them about Zapata Oil, Omega Protein and narcotics money laundering. Chances are they will say “I don’t know what you are talking about” You can then confront them with the facts. But chances are they will go about their business stuffing laundered narco dollars in their pockets, just as before!

\Wake up Virginia! If you repeatedly confront your elected officials and embarrass them with the facts behind the menhaden slaughter, why, they might just change their ways!

The press knows that Omega Protein, Zapata Oil and the Bush family are off limits. If not, and if the Coast Guard the National Marine Fisheries and NOAA* are sincere in their wish to safeguard our valuable striped bass and bluefin tuna stocks, then I suggest that they start to investigate Zapata Oil Company and the tens of millions of laundered narco dollars that they have invested in Omega Protein.

Tip Calaman
Reedville, Virginia

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