Symposium addresses menhaden science, policy issues

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NARRAGANSETT—A symposium is being convened to address issues regarding the management of menhaden in Narragansett Bay.

Rhode Island Sea Grant and the R.I. Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are cosponsoring a “Menhaden Science and Policy Symposium” from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, November 30, 2007, at the Village Inn on Beach Road in Narragansett. The symposium will offer participants the opportunity to explore the current scientific information available about the menhaden resource and discuss issues regarding its allocation. The symposium is free and open to the public, and includes breakfast and lunch. Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, visit or call the registration line at (401) 874-7599. Participants are also invited to join a pre-symposium discussion from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, at the University of Rhode Island (URI) Graduate School of Oceanography’s Coastal Institute in Narragansett. Refreshments will be served.

Topics include menhaden biology, life history, feeding practices and filter rates, a history of the menhaden fishery, a current coast-wide stock assessment, a current stock assessment for Narragansett Bay and the ecological value of menhaden. Discussion panels include state legislators and stakeholders, including commercial and recreational fisheries groups, Save the Bay, and Ark Bait, the primary purse seiner for menhaden in Narragansett Bay. Audience participation is invited. Speakers include scientists and representatives from DEM, Sea Grant and fisheries management agencies.

“Menhaden are an important contributor to the health of Narragansett Bay and the ecosystem, as well as the economy,” noted DEM Director W. Michael Sullivan. “This symposium presents a forum for scientists, policy makers and stakeholders to discuss a wide range of issues and share information concerning this valuable fishery.”

“There is an abundance of information available on menhaden that can be used in the decision-making process,” said David Beutel, Rhode Island Sea Grant Fisheries Extension specialist. “The intent of this forum is share that information and to have an open dialogue among all the participants and stakeholders.”

Rhode Island Sea Grant is located at the University of Rhode Island and is part of NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program, which promotes the conservation and sustainable development of marine resources for the public benefit.