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The editorial's reliance on disputable findings misleads readers regarding menhaden status. It would have been more accurate to state that Omega has been "falsely accused." Instead, by implication, you suggest that the unproven rhetoric surrounding menhaden abundance is accurate.
Scientists at NOAA and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission have repeatedly concluded that menhaden abundance--which has fluctuated over the past half-century--is largely independent of fishing efforts. Biologists contend that environmental factors are the defining component for the population's health.
The article also faults Omega Protein for "question[ing] allegations about menhaden's lessening numbers." But Omega isn't alone in questioning these latest findings. Limited data are available on the fishery's current status. The most recent assessment, released in 2012, was deemed severely flawed by the ASFMC, and the commission concluded in
Menhaden do not "filter" water as stated.
Although the article references menhaden as a "top menu selection" for striped bass, menhaden compose only a portion of the species' diet. In 2010, VIMS found that menhaden represented about 8 percent
Ben Landry is director of public affairs