Fisheries Program
Northeast Region
Atlantic menhaden
Atlantic menhaden

Atlantic menhaden

Life History

Described as a toothless herring, Atlantic manhaden can range from blue to blue-brown in color. Adults can grow 15 inches in length. Atlantic menhaden spawns year-round in the ocean after maturing at the end of their second year. Juveniles depend on zooplanktons as a source of food while adults eat larger phytoplankton and diatoms which are larger.


Nova-Scotia, Canada to central Florida

Fun Facts

  • The Atlantic menhaden belongs to the herring family.
  • Atlantic menhaden eggs float and, based on temperature, can hatch with 2 to 3 days.
  • Atlantic menhaden life span is 10 to 12 years.
  • Atlantic menhaden are harvested for fish oil production and use as bait.

More Information

Atlantic menhaden species profile (pdf - 1.16MB)

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Last updated: December 16, 2011
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