Abundant Peanut Bunker Contributes to a Great Season for False Albacore

Sep 15, 2017

Anyone who’s been walking down by the water these days along the south side of the Cape, or on the Vineyard, has probably noticed a lot of boat activity on the water and plenty of fish action. What's it all about? Most likely, it's false albacore.

False albacore arrive in our waters in the late summer. They're fast fish, related to tuna. We see them in the size range of 8-12lbs.  They're notorious for their good eyesight, for being very picky about what they strike, and for driving fishermen crazy.

It's been a great season so far for albies.  One likely reason is the plentiful numbers of baitfish known as peanut bunker. Peanut bunker are juvenile menhaden, and false albacore love to eat them.

It's likely no random circumstance that peanut bunker are in such abundance just now.  The fisheries group that regulates the menhaden catch has cut back on the commercial fisheries quotas for menhaden. 

Now, says Kevin Blinkoff, of On The Water magazine, fishery managers are looking at changing the way they manage menhaden. Instead of trying to determine how much humans can take out without overfishing, managers are looking at the importance of menhaden as forage fish. The goal is to be sure to leave enough bunker in the ocean for the fish, birds, whales, and everything else that eats them.  Right now, managers are collecting public comment on the issue. Here's more info on how to submit your comment, or where to go to attend a hearing.  

And be sure to check out The Fishing News, below. We round up this week's action and tell you what to look for if you're heading out this weekend. Give it a listen.