The Case against Fishing Menhaden

WHO GETS FIRST CALL THEN ON THE MENHADEN BOUNTY of the Chesapeake Bay? Omega Protein? The snapper rigs? The striped bass that fishermen like to catch? The ospreys and eagles that sometimes fight over the fish?

Ed Liccone would leave most of the menhaden as food for striped bass and other predators. He’s chairman of the Maryland chapter of a sportfishing group called the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA), and he’s showing me a photo of a striper that was well fed enough to win him a third place in the organization’s spring tournament. Liccone is showing a photo, not a fish, because he let his fish go. The CCA spring tournaments are catch and release. “We are sportsmen who are trying to protect the resource,” he says, summarizing what seems to be the official stance of many sportfishing groups.

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