Lund's Fisheries Media

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Saving Seafood~Saving Menhaden

For more than a century, the residents of small, hardworking towns along the Atlantic coast have made their living just as those before them. Taught to value hard work and their family’s name, they set off from shore early each morning, like their ancestors, in search of an abundant, yet highly valued catch: the Atlantic menhaden.

Passed down through coastal families for generations, the legacy of menhaden fishing is more than a treasured tradition. For the families and communities dependent on this abundant resource and the surrounding industry, it is their means of survival. And in so many of these small, rural towns, it is the only industry keeping the community economically afloat.

But the landscape that has so long defined these families and communities has changed dramatically. Increasing economic pressures and regulations have reduced the menhaden fishery to a fraction of what it once was. Today, much of what remains is limited to the town of Reedville, located in Virginia’s rural Northern Neck region. There, and in several other communities dotting the Atlantic coast, residents are staring down controversial regulations, while struggling to maintain what is left of their cherished livelihood.


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