A mainstay of the commercial fishing industry, the menhaden is also the primary food source for all sorts of fish and birds along the Eastern Seaboard.
There is now evidence of a long-term decline in Atlantic menhaden.
These little, silvery fish play a crucial role in the ecology of coastal waters all along the Eastern Seaboard, feeding bigger fish, marine mammals and birds.
The fish are nutrient-rich, a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids and consume smaller organisms like plankton
But they often get caught in mass quantities by fishermen seeking shellfish and are now disapppearing.