The Gulf Menhaden
Menhaden is a crucial fish of the coastal Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They provide the primary food source for dozens of key predators on land and in water such as striped bass, tarpon, weakfish, sharks, dolphins, eagles, osprey, and many more. In addition they serve as a key part of the marine ecosystem by maintaining regional water quality by filtering phytoplankton and reducing harmful algae blooms.
The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has shown that the menhaden population is at it's lowest recorded level. The menhaden population currently is only eight percent of what it would be if there were no pressure from fishing.
Menhaden are oily, and therefore energy-rich fish, which makes them sought after not just by other species, but unfortunately by commercial fishermen as well. The vast majority of menhaden harvested in the Atlantic are being used in everything from cosmetics to dog food and fertilizer.