offered by

Learn about Atlantic menhaden

Atlantic menhaden are a schooling fish that are mostly caught for their fish oil. Read on to learn more about the Atlantic menhaden


  • Menhaden are a round fish with a bony head, large eyes and a large mouth. They also have a dark spot behind their gills which is followed by other smaller spots. 
  • They have a silver belly and a brown, blue or greenish dorsal region, along with a yellowish forked tail.
  • Menhaden can reach a length of 12 inches, but generally are between 8 and 11 inches long.
Atlantic menhaden

Atlantic menhaden facts

  • Species name: Brevoortia tyrannus
  • Menhaden are toothless and feed on plankton.
  • Many creatures feed on Menhaden, including:
    • Whales
    • Dolphins
    • Porpoises
    • Birds
    • Striped bass
    • Tuna
    • Sharks
    • Swordfish
    • Bluefish
    • Cymothoa exigua
  • Menhaden are found within 20 miles of shore.
  • They spawn during the winter months, with females laying up to 300,000 eggs.
  • They are found from Nova Scotia to Florida.
  • Menhaden are fished commercially for bait and fish oil. It is a very successful fishery with almost no bycatch or habitat disruption.
  • Menhaden isn't usually sold for food as it has a pungent flavor and is very bony.

Additional Resources for