Menhaden Seek Refuge in Sippican Harbor and Fall Prey to Harvesting


Great Blue Heron on Watch in Sippican Harbor

Each fall in late September and early October, large numbers of menhaden mass in Sippican Harbor to avoid depredation by fierce and aggressive blue fish.  Also know as pogies, bunker and alewifes, menhaden are not used directly for human consumption, yet they form a key element in the oceanic ecosystem as a critical link between plankton and upper level predators. 


Menhaden Infested with Parasitic Copepods

By this time of the year, many menhaden that enter coastal estuaries are beset with parasitic copepods, as well as dotted with injuries incurred in narrow escapes from blue fish attacks or foul hooking.

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Menhaden Escape Blue Fish and Fall Prey to Harvesting

Menhaden form into large balls as the most effective strategy to survive violent attacks by aggressive blue fish.  Unfortunately, this strategy creates a hugh vulnerability to harvesting by commercial fishermen.

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