MENHADEN: Commercial Fishery CLOSED Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

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Notice to Commercial Menhaden License holders:

Maine Department of Marine Resources is notifying all commercial menhaden harvesters in advance that the commercial menhaden fishery will close, effective Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.  Please have all trip reports for the harvest week of Monday, August 22 through Friday, August 26, 2022 submitted prior to Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 11:59 p.m, in accordance with Chapter 41.20. 

Note: Individuals holding non-commercial menhaden licenses are not impacted by this closure and may continue to harvest 1,050 lbs per harvester and per vessel each day, in accordance with Chapter 41.40. Further, fishing weirs, stop seines, and pound nets may continue to fish but total weekly landings can not exceed 7,350 pounds (1050 pounds * 7) per harvest vessel between Mondays 12:01 AM through Sundays 11:59 PM. 

2022 Menhaden Season Summary

It was anticipated that an increase in effort would occur within Maine's menhaden fishery for the 2022 season due to recent legislative action to develop a limited entry license for 2023 with a landing requirement of 25,000 pounds that, if not already met, could be harvested during this 2022 season. Comparing the first 17 days of harvest under the small-scale fishery across years, Maine has landed 170% more pounds of menhaden in 2022 than in 2021, and 250% more pounds in 2022 than in 2020. To date, we have landed 15.8 million pounds under the small-scale fishery. 

Since 2018, Maine has been allocated roughly 2.2 million pounds but has been landing greater than 20 million pounds through a combination of episodic event set aside program quota, transfers of quota from other states, and the use of the small scale fishery once all quota options have been exhausted. Maine's small scale fishery landings peaked at 13.6 million pounds in 2020 and decreased to 12.5 million pounds in 2021 as regulatory changes were established to moderate effort and landings during that portion of the fishery. However, in 2021, total landings of menhaden (including landings under the small-scale fishery provision) exceeded the coastwide Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for menhaden. 

The Atlantic Menhaden Board at ASMFC is currently working on draft Addendum I, which was recently approved for public comment and is slated for final action in November.  This management document contains several options which consider changes to the state-by-state allocations, increases in the episodic events set aside, and greater restrictions on the small-scale fishery including lower trip limits and/or the potential to remove gear types, such as purse seines, from the provision. Significant increases in landings under the small-scale fishery and subsequent exceedance of the TAC may undermine these conversations.  


AGENCY:          Department of Marine Resources

CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE:  Chapter 41 2022 Menhaden Commercial Fishery Closed


Under the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (ISFMP) for Atlantic menhaden, Maine is allocated roughly 2.2 million pounds, but has typically landed over 20 million pounds through the combination of state allocated quota, Episodic Event Set Aside quota (EESA), transfers of quota from other states along and landings via the incidental catch and small scale fishery (ICSSF) provision.  In 2022, Maine has landed 170% more pounds of menhaden under the ICSSF than in 2021 due in part to increased participants. For FY2021, total landings of menhaden (including landings under the ICSSF provision) exceeded the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) of 194,400 mt set for menhaden. Additional commercial landings of menhaden jeopardizes the TAC set for FY2022.

The Commissioner has determined that it is necessary to take emergency action to end the commercial fishing season to prevent unusual damage to the menhaden resource by exceeding available quota. The Commissioner hereby adopts this emergency regulation as authorized by 12 M.R.S. §6171(3)(A).

EFFECTIVE DATE:                                  August 28, 2022

Reporting Reminder

Electronic reporting can be completed through either LEEDS or the VESL electronic harvest reporting application available for iOS and Android devices.  Please note that if you have already signed up to VESL for a different species, you will already have access for reporting menhaden.  Contact (207-633-9500), option 2 for Landings Division and then Option 4 for electronic reporting. Email any questions on electronic reporting to