Tuesday, July 2, 2024

07.02.24 There goes the bunker...

     If you a believer that menhaden, bunker, pogies, are the most important fish (forage) in the sea then you'd be interested in this. Now while I'm no expert my buddy Paul Eidman of Menhaden Defenders does. He's been at it for decades, raising awareness and conservation to this very hot topic. Hot meaning controversial as it pins big business versus those a more environmental approach to protecting these fish. 

     From my understanding it's all about Omega Protein. A bunker reduction fishery that fishes for and uses bunker for fish meal, pet food, and omega-3 supplements. They used to be able to fish in New Jersey waters but no longer. It has been reported they have decimated bunker schools down in their home waters off of Virginia and inside the Chesapeake Bay. Well now, today, they are fishing off of New Jersey in the New York Bight, in federal waters, 3 miles off the beach. 

     There are five boats out there now coupled with spotter planes overhead. Once loaded up they return south to offload until they meet their quota. Who is this fish so important? Well, all predator fish love them, striped bass, dolphins, whales, sharks, bluefish, tuna, you name it, if it likes to eat fish it likes 

bunker. And not only are they good food, they are good for the waters as they are filter feeders they help clean up where they swim. And while they are targeting big adult bunker, the question will be what will happen for the fall run. Will we have a good peanut bunker push? 

     Having bunker around means other fish will be close by. While I am not a fan of live-lining, or what was once snag and drop fishing, it surely is almost a guaranteed fish like the good old days when guys used to live line herring. But having bait around is good for striped bass, especially the large ones who benefit from their rich nutrient bodies. 

     If you would like to learn more or support the effort to protect the bunker go over to the Menhaden Defenders website, HERE