Connecticut Audbon Society


Advocating to Protect Fish – and Birds

An Osprey carries a fish to its nest. The Osprey populations strong recovery is partly attributable to an abundance of menhaden. Photo courtesy of Mark Jankura.

October 23, 2017 – In the vast web of plants and animals that support life, three of the species that are most important to Connecticut are migratory fish: alewives, blueback herring, and Atlantic menhaden.

Menhaden are enjoying something of a resurgence, and have been abundant throughout summer and into the fall in Long Island Sound and its harbors, bays, and rivers, including the lower Connecticut River.

Alewives and blueback herring, which return to east coast rivers to spawn in spring, have not been doing nearly so well.

Federal agencies are reviewing the status of all three. Because of their importance to local wildlife, including the region’s burgeoning Osprey population, we submitted formal comments in October asking that blueback herring and alewife be given additional protection under the Endangered Species Act; and objecting to a proposal to increase the commercial harvest of menhaden.

This excerpt is from our letter about alewives and blueback herring: “The data collected by our state DEEP Fisheries Division demonstrates that the runs of these river herring species remain depressed relative to what they were prior to the mid-1980s and there have been no significant recovery of our local stocks. Traditional approaches to fisheries management as practiced by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the New England Fisheries Management Council have not been effective at protecting our local stocks and promoting the re-building of these stocks. Something more is needed.”

Here’s an excerpt from our letter about Atlantic menhaden: “Considering the massive ecological importance of menhaden to the biodiversity of the Long Island Sound and ocean waters we are hoping to see important changes to the way the Atlantic Menhaden fishery is managed.”

Read the menhaden letter.

Read the herring and alewives letter.






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