Atlantic Menhaden

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Overview:

Recently, researchers said that overfishing of the Atlantic menhaden is at the root of the declining reproductive rates of ospreys(bird) at Mobjack Bay, an inlet at the southern end of the Chesapeake Bay.

About Atlantic menhaden: 

 

  • It is a commercially important Atlantic Ocean fish, also known as Fatback, Bunker, Pogie.
  • Habitat: They are found in coastal and estuarine waters from Nova Scotia to northern Florida.
  • Diet: They are filter feeders, primarily consuming phytoplankton and zooplankton in the water column.
  • The disappearance of most of the menhaden from the bay is contributing to the disappearance of the many species that rely on menhaden
  • Uses of this fish
    • They are harvested for use as fertilizers, animal feed, and bait for fisheries including blue crab and lobster.
    • They are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, so they are also used to develop human and animal supplements. 
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN: Least concern
  • The disappearance of most of the menhaden from the bay is contributing to the disappearance of the many species that rely on menhaden

 

Key facts about the Chesapeake Bay

  • It is the largest inlet in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the eastern United States.
  • It was created by the submergence of the lower courses of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries, 
  • The southern part of the bay is bordered by Virginia and its northern part by Maryland.

 


Q1) What is Omega-3 fatty acid?

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that are essential for the human body and have several health benefits like Heart Health.

Source: How a tiny fish that fuels an Atlantic ecosystem is at the centre of industry debates