A new report released today, titled "Menhaden Math: The Economic Impact of Atlantic Menhaden on Virginia's Recreational and Commercial Fisheries," details the importance of menhaden as a forage base for many other fish that the Virginia economy depends on. The report was commissioned by Coastal Conservation Association, National Coalition for Marine Conservation, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and the American Sportfishing Association; the economic study was conducted by Rob Southwick of Southwick Associates Inc, and Andy Loftus of Loftus Consulting.
Historically, the commercial menhaden harvest has been a large contributor to the Virginia economy. In recent years, however, the many processing plants that once dotted the coastline have slowly disappeared, all except for one plant in Reedville, VA, operated by the Houston-based Omega Protein. Today, government data indicate that the economic value of the industrial menhaden harvest is being eclipsed by an increasingly popular recreational fishery that thrives on the fish that rely on menhaden as a food source.
Read the full story.