By Mike Busch

Fire Island and Beyond along with a number of local environmental groups and interested parties including The Nature Conservancy, CRESLI, Gotham Whale, Pew Trusts, Shark Angels and Menhaden Defenders have all been advocating for common sense Menhaden (bunker) management coming to a head next week when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meets in Maryland.

Over 157,000 people weighed in during the public comment period with nearly all the comments calling on the Commission to move immediately to ecosystem based management through Option E.

Despite the overwhelming public and scientific support, there still needs to be a strong showing at the final vote next week to get this done.

The ASMFC board will be voting on whether to move forward with an ecosystem-based, common sense management proposal.  You can join fellow conservationists, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts on Monday November 13th to witness the final vote.  While you’re there, stop by the ‘Bunker Bunker’ hospitality room where there will be food and light refreshments, giveaways and education activities including wildlife photography tips, fly tying, fishing instruction and more.  If you can attend, click here for more details.

In my opinion, it is impossible to understate the importance of Menhaden in the food chain.  Whale watchers, fisherman, and wildlife photographers will all tell you that the resurgence of bunker over the last several years has had a huge impact.  Let’s hope the decisions made next week ensure that this continues.

The video and images above and below were all taken this season off one small stretch of beach on the south shore of Long Island.  This same action is occurring from Montauk to New York City and beyond thanks to the most important fish in the sea.

More images and video on pages 2 and 3