The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has released a “Public Information Document” for Atlantic Menhaden for review and comment. That is the first step in making changes to the Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan, which guides how many of the fish can be caught.

Menhaden are an important source of food for many other fish, but also support a large fishery based largely in Virginia. Menhaden reproduction has plummeted in recent years, and some fishermen have charged that the industry is catching too many of the fish.

After an outside panel of scientists issued a report critical of menhaden management earlier this year, the ASMFC’s Menhaden Management Board agreed to move toward revising its management plan. The ASMFC, representing all East Coast states, is in charge of managing fish that migrate across state lines.

Copies of the Public Information Document are available by contacting Jeanette Braxton at the ASMFC, 202-289-6400, ext. 333, or from the ASMFC Internet site at under “public input.” The deadline for comments is Sept. 30.

Also, public hearings have been set in Virginia and Maryland to discuss menhaden management.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at its office, 2600 Washington Ave., in Newport News. For information, contact Jack Travelstead, 757-247-2247.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will hold a hearing at 7 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Tawes Office Building Cafeteria in Annapolis. For information, contact Howard King, 410-260-8264.