Interstate fishing regulators are about to close the public comment period on potential changes to the way they regulate a fish that serves as a key piece of the ocean food chain.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is taking the last comments on its menhaden plan on Tuesday. Menhaden are small, schooling fish that make up one of the largest fisheries in the U.S. by weight.

Fishermen catch more than a billion pounds of menhaden per year. They are used as fish meal, fish oil, bait and other products.

The Atlantic States commission is considering proposals to try to better account for menhaden’s role in the environment. The fish is a key food source for whales, dolphins, seabirds and large fish. A vote is set for Nov. 13.

Author photo
The Associated Press
The AP is one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.