Stories of our connected and rapidly changing region.


After Population Decline, Menhaden Return To Predators’ Menus

John McMurray holds one menhaden caught in Long Island Sound. To avoid predators, menhaden will ball into large groups. For fishermen, that can make catching the fish ideal. Photo by Patrick Skahill for WNPR

Oily and smelly – Atlantic menhaden are one of the least sexy fish imaginable. But this humble fish, also called “bunker” or “pogie,” has deep roots off the coast of New England.

It’s believed Native Americans taught the Pilgrims to fertilize their crops with the fish. And for decades, millions of tons of menhaden were pulled out of the ocean.

Now, there’s a movement to preserve this vital species, not just for the fishermen who catch it, but for animals that eat it.

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