Thursday, October 25, 2007

Menhaden Rant

Menhaden is the most important fish we do not eat. Shad, bunker, shiner are just a few names, all describing the menhaden (brevoortia patronus).. Menhaden grow to approximately one foot and are very similar in appearance to the freshwater shad, but are not the same fish. Menhaden are extremely oily, which is why they have been commercially netted for so many years for the oil and meal that can be produced from them. Commonly used as bait for almost all species, using them alive, dead, or cut. Menhaden are plankton filter feeders and near the bottom of the food chain, they can only be caught with a net. Sometimes when you see bait rolling on the surface, it is a school of menhaden, with bigger fish sure to be following. And this brings me to an important point. Menhaden are the largest by weight of all commercial catches. The vast majority are processed into feed for fish and livestock, and used in the growing number of food products containing omega 3 oil. Currently a limited number of people benefit financially from this harvest. Of these the Glazer family and Zapatao its subsidiary Omega Protein Corporation. Not to mention strong ties to government agencies, and lobbyists. These are the same guys that have benefited from corporate welfare in the form of The Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Taking of all these fish has to have some kind of effect on the amount of food available to all the larger fish out there. As for the Omega oil market, we need to find some way to ramp up production of algae aquaculture. Wikipedia

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