ARLINGTON, Va. – One of the most important species of fish in the ocean’s food chain is getting a close look to help determine the health of its population.

Two arms of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are working on an assessment of the menhaden stock. Also known as pogy, menhaden provide an important alternative source of bait for lobster traps when herring isn’t available.

Menhaden are small, schooling fish that play a critical role in the ocean’s health because they are important food for whales, larger fish, seabirds and others. They’re also harvested commercially for use as fish oil and aquaculture feed.

The Atlantic States commission, an interstate board that regulates coastal fisheries, says the health of the menhaden population will be the subject of meetings in Arlington, Virginia, in early April. The meetings will serve to inform the management of the Atlantic menhaden fishery.

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