[CT Birds] Take Action to Protect Important Forage for Seabirds and Other Fish-Eating Birds

Comins, Patrick PCOMINS at audubon.org
Tue Nov 13 15:23:07 EST 2012

Fellow Birders:
This is an issue we've been working on at Audubon Connecticut for several years.  Menhaden or bunker are very important as a forage species for many of the species of birds we like to see on Long Island Sound.  I suspect that they are particularly important for Atlantic seabirds because unlike many fish, they go out to see to spawn and the fry then drift back to the estuaries of the east coast.  Manx Shearwaters are said to have large concentrations in areas where spawning occurs and I suspect that the same is true of other seabirds.   Please see below for additional information and the opportunity to submit comments with the click of a mouse:
Common Loons and many other birds rely on menhaden as a food source. Speak up to protect this critical part of the Atlantic Ocean ecosystem.

Many waterbirds, including the Common Loon, Least Tern, Roseate Tern, Royal Tern, and Black-crowned Night Heron, rely upon a commercial fish called menhaden as a food source. But menhaden populations have plummeted 90 percent over the last 25 years. In a landmark move last year, East Coast fishery managers-responding to a plea for action by more than 90,000 people like you-committed to advancing new protections for Atlantic menhaden. Now we need your help to make sure these plans become real improvements on the water.

Send in your public comments TODAY and urge the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to protect Atlantic menhaden from overfishing and restore the health of this important food source for seabirds. The deadline to comment is this Friday, November 16.
Abundant menhaden are important for maintaining a vibrant ocean and estuarine ecosystem. Without sustainable levels of menhaden, the health of many shore birds and nesting sea birds that eat menhaden along the Atlantic coast is threatened. The entire marine food web along with local economies suffers when menhaden availability for birds and ocean wildlife is diminished. We need to leave more menhaden in the ocean to promote their recovery. But right now, an unlimited number of these fish can be caught, and each year hundreds of millions of menhaden are ground up to make fertilizer; fish meal for farm animals, pet food, and aquaculture; and oil for dietary supplements.

Submit your public comments today.

Thank you!


Patrick M. Comins
Director of Bird Conservation

Audubon Connecticut
185 East Flat Hill Road
Southbury, CT 06488

Phone: (203)264-5098 x308 (note, I currently do not have a phone at my desk, but will check messages, email is a quicker way to reach me right now)
Fax: (203)264-6332

pcomins at audubon.org<mailto:pcomins at audubon.org>
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