The silvery fish is the linchpin in the Atlantic’s marine ecosystem. Environmentalists want to make sure they thrive.
There are many nicknames for the Atlantic menhaden, the silvery fish in the herring family: pogy, bunker, fatback, bughead.
But Richard Hittinger, first vice president of the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association, repeats what has become a more popular way of describing the small, oily fish that summers in local waters.
“They are the most important fish in the ocean,” he said, referring to a book of a similar name devoted to the humble menhaden.
Hittinger and others want federal regulators to keep the fish’s role in the marine ecosystem in mind when they meet this week to consider changing the way the menhaden fishery is managed and potentially amending the catch limit for the species.
A board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which manages fishing in waters from Maine to Florida, is meeting on Wednesday in Alexandria, Virginia, to come up with a recommendation that will be voted on Nov. 14.