Gulf menhaden

The Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus) is a small marine filter-feeding fish belonging to the family Clupeidae. The range of Gulf menhaden encompasses the entirety of the Gulf of Mexico nearshore waters, with the exception of the extreme eastern Yucatan and western Cuba.[2] Evidence from morphology [3] and DNA analyses [4] suggest that the Gulf menhaden is the Gulf of Mexico complement to the Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus). Both species support large commercial reduction fisheries,[5] with Gulf menhaden supporting the second largest fishery, by weight, in the United States.[6]

Gulf menhaden
Gulf menhaden (Brevoortia patronus), captured in Galveston Bay, TX
Scientific classification
B. patronus
Binomial name
Brevoortia patronus
Goode, 1878

Range and distribution

The Gulf menhaden occurs throughout the Gulf of Mexico, but its distribution is patchy. The center of distribution of the species appears to be the northwest/northcentral Gulf,[2] particularly in Louisiana and Texas where populations are very large and numerous. In the southern Gulf of Mexico the range of Gulf menhaden overlaps that of the closely related finescale menhaden (Brevoortia gunteri),[7] and there is evidence for resource partitioning (a process whereby closely related species occurring in close proximity results in subtle differences in ecological niches) between these species.[8] In the eastern Gulf, the range of Gulf menhaden overlaps that of the yellowfin menhaden (Brevoortia smithi), and hybridization between these species has been demonstrated using morphological [3] and DNA evidence.[9] Gulf menhaden also may have a presence on the southern Atlantic coast of Florida,[9][10] although this finding is based primarily upon DNA evidence.

General biology

Gulf menhaden are commonly 8 inches in length but can reach 12 inches. Gulf menhaden are a dull silver with a greenish back. Like their Atlantic counterpart, Gulf menhaden have a prominent black spot found behind the gill cover followed by a row of smaller spots [11]


Gulf menhaden are filter feeders, meaning that they collect food by filtering water through modifications of the branchial apparatus (gill or branchial arches and gill rakers). Like Atlantic menhaden, Gulf menhaden’s diet depends on the size of their gill rakers, which change as menhaden age. Larval gulf menhaden feed primary on zooplankton because the rakers are not well developed. The juveniles, which generally correspond to when they are under the age of 1, Gulf menhaden feed more on phytoplankton. As they age and their gill rakers fully developed, menhaden shift their diet to primarily consume phytoplankton.[12]

Life cycle

Spawning occurs offshore in winter (October–March).[2] Eggs and larvae are pelagic and are carried into estuarine nursery areas via prevailing currents. As a result, migration at this stage can be lengthy, and populations of Gulf menhaden throughout the Gulf of Mexico are generally thought to comprise a single genetic stock.[13]

Commercial fishery

The Gulf menhaden fishery is one of the largest in the United States. In 2013, the fishery supported four of the nation’s top ten ports by volume of landings.[14] Gulf menhaden are harvested primarily for fish meal and fish oil based products. A much smaller number of menhaden are caught for use as bait. In addition to being one of the largest fisheries in the US, the Gulf menhaden fishery has also been recognized internationally for its sustainability.

The fishery’s sustainability has also been certified by independent organizations. Friend of the Sea, an international seafood sustainability certification program, has recognized both the Atlantic menhaden and Gulf menhaden fisheries as sustainable.[15] This is both due to the healthy status of the stock as well as the fishery’s low levels of bycatch, which it achieves with the use of purse seine nets.[16]


Gulf menhaden are managed by an interstate compact called the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC). According to the most recent 2013 stock assessment by the GSMFC, Gulf menhaden are “neither overfished nor experiencing overfishing.”[17] According to the GSMFC, “the Gulf menhaden fishery is probably the most closely monitored and managed fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.”[12] An example of the fishery’s monitoring is the Gulf of Mexico purse seine fishery’s participation in NOAA’s Southeast Fisheries Observer Program since 2011.[18] Specifically, the Menhaden Advisory Committee (MAC) is the GSMFC subcommittee that oversees menhaden management.

Dead zones

According to the GSMFC, “Menhaden do not have the capacity to reduce unwanted phytoplankton blooms that arise from manmade sources, primarily because they eat mostly zooplankton. In addition, menhaden excrete large amounts of ammonia (a nitrogenous product), contributing to an already high nitrogen load.”[12] In addition, the commercial menhaden fishery only targets adult menhaden, which consume zooplankton, not juvenile menhaden, which do consume phytoplankton [19]


  1. ^ NatureServe (2015). "Brevoortia patronus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 4.1 (4.1). International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved February 25, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c FAO 2002. The living marine resources of the western central Atlantic. ASIH special publication No. 5, Kent E. Carpenter, ed. ISSN 1020-6868.
  3. ^ a b Dahlberg, M.D. 1970. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico menhadens, genus Brevoortia (Pisces:Clupeidae). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 15:91-162.
  4. ^ Anderson, J.D. 2007. Systematics of the North American menhadens: molecular evolutionary reconstructions in the genus Brevoortia (Clupeiformes: Clupeidae). Fishery Bulletin 205:368-378.
  5. ^ Vaughan, D.S. and C. Strobeck. 1998. Assessment and management of Atlantic and Gulf menhaden stocks. Marine Fishery Review 53, 47-55.
  6. ^ Pritchard, E.S. 2005. Fisheries of the United States 2004. Silver Spring, MD: National Marine Fisheries Service, Office of Science and Technology, pp. 1-19.
  7. ^ Anderson, J.D. and D.L. McDonald. 2007. Morphological and genetic investigations of two western Gulf of Mexico menhadens (Brevoortia spp.). Journal of Fish Biology 70a:139-147.
  8. ^ Castillo-Revera, M., A. Kobelkowsky and V. Zamayoa. 1996. Food resource partitioning and trophic morphology of Brevoortia gunteri and B. patronus. Journal of Fish Biology 49:1102-1111.
  9. ^ a b Anderson, J.D. and W.J. Karel. 2007. Genetic evidence for asymmetric hybridization between menhadens (Brevoortia spp.) from peninsular Florida. Journal of Fish Biology 71b:235-249.
  10. ^ Reintjes, J.W. 1959. Continuous distribution of menhaden along the south Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 12, 31-35.
  11. ^ Louisiana Fisheries
  12. ^ a b c “Menhaden Facts.” Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission. Archived 2015-02-17 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Anderson, J.D. 2006. Conservation Genetics of Gulf Menhaden (Brevoortia patronus): Implications for the Management of a Critical Forage Component for Texas Coastal Gamefish Ecology. Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act Technical Series, F-144-R.
  14. ^ National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Science and Technology, “Fisheries of the United States 2013,” September 2014
  15. ^ Friend of the Sea, “Fisheries USA – Purse seine – Gulf menhaden, Atlantic menhaden – FAO Western Atlantic Ocean”
  16. ^ Friend of the Sea, “Omega Protein’s Purse Seine Menhaden fleet”
  17. ^ Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, “Stock Assessment Report for Gulf of Mexico Gulf Menhaden (SEDAR32A) and Adoption of Reference Points,” November 14, 2013
  18. ^ [NOAA, “National Observer Program, FY 2011 Annual Report”]
  19. ^ NOAA, “Brief History of the Gulf Menhaden Purse-Seine Fishery”

External links

Atlantic Ocean

The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world's oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers (41,100,000 square miles). It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth's surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the "Old World" from the "New World".

The Atlantic Ocean occupies an elongated, S-shaped basin extending longitudinally between Europe and Africa to the east, and the Americas to the west. As one component of the interconnected global ocean, it is connected in the north to the Arctic Ocean, to the Pacific Ocean in the southwest, the Indian Ocean in the southeast, and the Southern Ocean in the south (other definitions describe the Atlantic as extending southward to Antarctica). The Equatorial Counter Current subdivides it into the North Atlantic Ocean and the South Atlantic Ocean at about 8°N.Scientific explorations of the Atlantic include the Challenger expedition, the German Meteor expedition, Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the United States Navy Hydrographic Office.

Atlantic menhaden

The Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) is a North American species of fish in the herring family, Clupeidae.Atlantic menhaden are found in the North Atlantic coastal and estuarine waters from Nova Scotia south to northern Florida. They are commonly found in all salinities of the Chesapeake Bay and Mid-Atlantic water. They swim in large schools that stratify by size and age along the coast. Younger and smaller fish are found in the Chesapeake Bay and southern coastline while older, larger fish are found along the northern coastline.

Atlantic tripletail

The Atlantic tripletail or tripletail (Lobotes surinamensis) is a warm-water marine fish found across the tropics; it can grow to 90 cm long and weigh 18 kg. It is also known by fishermen by names like flasher or steamboat. Young fishes float on their sides, often beside flotsam, and appear like a dry leaf. In Indonesia, the local name is called KakapHitam/Laut or similar as Black Barramundi which is commonly consumed by its similar appearance as Lates calcalifers-Baramundi

Blacktip shark

Not to be confused with the blacktip reef shark, Carcharhinus melanopterus.

The blacktip shark (Carcharhinus limbatus) is a species of requiem shark, and part of the family Carcharhinidae. It is common to coastal tropical and subtropical waters around the world, including brackish habitats. Genetic analyses have revealed substantial variation within this species, with populations from the western Atlantic Ocean isolated and distinct from those in the rest of its range. The blacktip shark has a stout, fusiform body with a pointed snout, long gill slits, and no ridge between the dorsal fins. Most individuals have black tips or edges on the pectoral, dorsal, pelvic, and caudal fins. It usually attains a length of 1.5 m (4.9 ft).

Swift, energetic piscivores, blacktip sharks are known to make spinning leaps out of the water while attacking schools of small fish. Their demeanor has been described as "timid" compared to other large requiem sharks. Both juveniles and adults form groups of varying size. Like other members of its family, the blacktip shark is viviparous; females bear one to 10 pups every other year. Young blacktip sharks spend the first months of their lives in shallow nurseries, and grown females return to the nurseries where they were born to give birth themselves. In the absence of males, females are also capable of asexual reproduction.

Normally wary of humans, blacktip sharks can become aggressive in the presence of food and have been responsible for a number of attacks on people. This species is of importance to both commercial and recreational fisheries across many parts of its range, with its meat, skin, fins, and liver oil used. It has been assessed as Near Threatened by the IUCN, on the basis of its low reproductive rate and high value to fishers.

Fish kill

The term fish kill, known also as fish die-off, refers to a localized die-off of fish populations which may also be associated with more generalized mortality of aquatic life. The most common cause is reduced oxygen in the water, which in turn may be due to factors such as drought, algae bloom, overpopulation, or a sustained increase in water temperature. Infectious diseases and parasites can also lead to fish kill. Toxicity is a real but far less common cause of fish kill.Fish kills are often the first visible signs of environmental stress and are usually investigated as a matter of urgency by environmental agencies to determine the cause of the kill. Many fish species have a relatively low tolerance of variations in environmental conditions and their death is often a potent indicator of problems in their environment that may be affecting other animals and plants and may have a direct impact on other uses of the water such as for drinking water production. Pollution events may affect fish species and fish age classes in different ways. If it is a cold-related fish kill, juvenile fish or species that are not cold-tolerant may be selectively affected. If toxicity is the cause, species are more generally affected and the event may include amphibians and shellfish as well. A reduction in dissolved oxygen may affect larger specimens more than smaller fish as these may be able to access oxygen richer water at the surface, at least for a short time.

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This is a list of episodes for the series Wild Kratts. Some episodes focus on an environmental problem, while other episodes have a villain who specializes in exacerbating one such problem.

List of commercially important fish species

See also: World fish production, Fishing industry by country, and Types of seafood

This is a list of aquatic animals that are harvested commercially in the greatest amounts, listed in order of tonnage per year (2012) by the Food and Agriculture Organization. Species listed here have an annual tonnage in excess of 1,600,000 tonnes.

This table includes mainly fish, but also listed are crabs, shrimp, squid, bivalves, and a soft shell turtle.

Note that Oreochromis niloticus and Penaeus monodon appear twice, because substantial amounts are harvested from the wild as well as being extensively raised through aquaculture.

List of common fish names

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List of fishes of Florida

This article lists wide variety or diversity of fish in the lakes and oceans of the state of Florida, United States.

List of least concern fishes

As of September 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists 9131 least concern fish species. 60% of all evaluated fish species are listed as least concern.

The IUCN also lists 37 fish subspecies as least concern.

Of the subpopulations of fishes evaluated by the IUCN, 44 species subpopulations have been assessed as least concern.

This is a complete list of least concern fish species and subspecies evaluated by the IUCN. Species and subspecies which have least concern subpopulations (or stocks) are indicated.

Matagorda Bay

Matagorda Bay ( (listen)) is a large Gulf of Mexico estuary bay on the Texas coast, lying in Calhoun and Matagorda counties and located approximately 80 miles (130 km) northeast of Corpus Christi, 143 miles (230 km) east-southeast of San Antonio, 108 miles (174 km) south-southwest of Houston, and 167 miles (269 km) south-southeast of Austin. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda Peninsula and serves as the mouth of numerous streams, most notably the Lavaca and Colorado Rivers. The Texas seaport of Port Lavaca is located on the system's northwestern extension of Lavaca Bay. The city of Palacios is found on northeastern extension of Tres Palacios Bay, and Port O'Connor is located on the southwestern tip of the main bay's shore. The ghost town of Indianola, which was a major port before it was destroyed by two hurricanes in the late 19th Century, is also found on the bay.

The bay's shore, especially near the Colorado River delta, provides a habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. The wildlife serves as a basis for the birding and fishing tourism, and is an essential component of the production of seafood, specifically shrimp and blue crab, which are the specialties of the area. The fertile land near the bay is ideal for farming, especially for the propagation of rice.


Menhaden, also known as mossbunker and bunker, are forage fish of the genera Brevoortia and Ethmidium, two genera of marine fish in the family Clupeidae. Menhaden is a blend of poghaden (pogy for short) and an Algonquian word akin to Narragansett munnawhatteaûg, derived from munnohquohteau ‘he fertilizes’, referring to their use of the fish as fertilizer. It is generally thought that Pilgrims were advised by Tisquantum (also known as Squanto) to plant menhaden with their crops.

Omega Protein

Omega Protein Corporation was a publicly traded US company, founded in 1913 as a fishing operation. As of 2015 it still operated a fishing fleet, and produced food ingredients, dietary supplements and animal feed. Their products included fish oil, fish meal, and proteins. In the 2000s it expanded via acquisitions into ingredients produced from milk and plants. On December 19, 2017 Cooke Inc. completed its acquisition of Omega Protein for $22.00 per share.

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