Based on the findings of the 2015 Atlantic Menhaden Benchmark Stock Assessment and Peer Review, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board initiated Draft Amendment 3 to the Fishery Management Plan. The Draft Amendment will consider changes to the management program including the development of ecological reference points that reflect Atlantic menhaden’s role as a forage species. To aid in the development of these reference points, the Commission has established a multi-disciplinary working group to identify potential ecosystem goals and objectives for Board review and consideration. The working group contains a broad range of representation including, Commissioners, advisors, and technical representatives to provide various perspectives on menhaden management.

“This workshop reflects the Commission’s continued commitment to fully evaluating the importance of Atlantic menhaden to the ecosystem and harvesters. This process will benefit from the expertise and input of managers, stakeholders, and scientists that are committed to the sustainable management of this valuable resource,” stated Board Chair Robert Boyles from South Carolina. “The anticipated outcome of the workshop will be potential goals and objectives for ecosystem management that the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board will consider as part of the Public Information Document for Draft Amendment 3.”

The workshop will be facilitated by Dr. Michael Jones, who chaired the Peer Review Panel for the 2015 Atlantic Menhaden Benchmark Stock Assessment. Dr. Jones brings a working knowledge of Atlantic menhaden science and management, as well as expertise of ecosystem management in the Great Lakes region. The workshop will be preceded by a webinar that will review topics to be covered, expectations, and workshop goals, as well as provide participants an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions on the process. The webinar will also feature an ecosystem management case study from the Great Lakes region to help guide the ecosystem management workshop for Atlantic menhaden.

The public is welcome to attend the webinar and workshop. Since the webinar and workshop will be working meetings, there will be a limited opportunity for the public to provide comments at the end of the meeting if time permits. The webinar will be held on Friday, August 14 at 9 AM; please CLICK HERE to register, and call 866.244.8528 and enter passcode 629107 to join the conference call. The workshop will be conducted on August 31 and September 1 from 8:30 AM to 5 PM at the Hotel at Arundel Preserve, 7795 Arundel Mills Boulevard, Hanover, Maryland 21076; 888.624.4011. Space may be limited; please contact Mike Waine, Senior Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at [email protected] or 703.842.0740 if you are interested in attending.

Since Draft Amendment 3 will also consider changes to current state-by-state allocation, a working group of the Management Board (see Board Subgroup membership in text box on page 1) has been established to begin discussions on various allocation schemes to help inform the Board as it develops options to be included in the Draft Amendment. The Working Group will meet via webinar on Wednesday, July 15 at 1 PM; please CLICK HERE to join webinar and call 888.394.8197 and enter passcode: 815277 to join the conference call. As with the ecosystem webinar and workshop, the public is welcome to listen in on the webinar. If time permits, there will be a limited opportunity for the public to provide comments at the end of the meeting.

It is important to note that no management decisions are being formulated or acted upon at the workshop or the webinars. The meetings are a means to initiate discussions on ecosystem objectives and allocation schemes, allowing for the identification of issues and options for Board discussion and consideration. There will be several opportunities throughout the amendment development process for interested stakeholders and the public to submit public comment.

Additional meetings of both working groups may be scheduled. If you are not already on the ASMFC email alerts for Atlantic menhaden, please email [email protected] (Subject line: Menhaden Meetings) to receive email updates on these meetings.