The Most Important Fish in the Sea - 09/17/2004

The Pogy boat's days are numbered.  We're working on it-- stand by. Everything is expected to be cool enough durags from joom. We will replace it with the best and most modern one.

Capt Rube
Thanks for your efforts and the efforts of the OIB fishing center for organizing OIB and towns to ban commercial menhaden netting.  Aside from hurting the recreational fishing population, it has a far more reaching impact on the total ecosystem. 
My son is a recent graduate from the university of GA with a Degree in Ecology.  I was telling him about the OIFC efforts to ban menhaden netting off of OIB.  He found an article that talks specifically about the overall environmental impact of overfishing menhaden.  I want to share some of the article with you in hopes it will help Onfy efforts.
According to an article written by Bruce Franklin in the Discover Magazine, Menhaden is considered the most important fish in the sea. 
In that article, Franklin quotes Sara Gottlieb, a marine biologist as saying "Think of menhaden as the liver of a bay.  Just as your body needs its liver to filter out toxins, ecosystems also need those natural filters.  "Overfishing of menhaden is just like removing your liver and you cannot survive without a liver. 
Over fishing menhaden has been linked to the diseased rockfish (striped bass) in the Chesapeake bay with bacterial infections or lesions associated with Pfiesteria.
Schools of menhaden swimming with their mouths open slurp up enormous quantities of plankton and detritus like gargantuan vacuum cleaners.  This filtering clarifies the water by purging suspended particles that cause turbidity, allowing sunlight to penetrate to greater depths.  This encourages the growth of plants that release dissolved oxygen as they are photosynthesize.  The plants also harbor fish and shell fish. 
The article goes in to great detail about the companies in VA and elsewhere that target menhaden and the resultant decline of fish in these areas, specifically the Chesapeake Bay, that use to be one of the richest fisheries in the America.
It you want more info on this article you can find it in the BEST AMERICAN AND NATURE WRITING 2002, Publisher is Houghton, Mifflin Company, Natalie Angier, Editor. 
It reality presents a whole ecosystem approach to the Menhaden problem and perhaps gain better support from the politicians.

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