Signs of spring- menhaden are moving into the Bay. This time of year, the water clarity is excellent- providing a clear view to the massive, undulating schools.
Menhaden are often found at the top of the water column near the surface, where, as filter feeders, the gape-mouthed fish will devour copious quantities of both plant and animal plankton.
Menhaden are essential to the Chesapeake food chain, both digesting plankton and in turn feeding predators, whether birds or large fish species. Although fears of over-fishing have been widespread given their critical role in the estuary, today the fishery is well-managed and stable- good news for a species critical to the Chesapeake’s environment.
For more information on menhaden: http://1.usa.gov/25nnC3a
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