Peckham, but others have held that it is of exclusively animal origin, a view supported by such occurrences as those in the orthoceratities of the Trenton limestone, and by the experiments of C. Engler, who obtained a liquid like crude petroleum by the distillation of menhaden (fish) oil.
On account of the importations from Canada, Chesapeake Bay and the Great Lakes, the mackerel, cod and menhaden fisheries declined, especially after 1860, and the oyster and lobster fisheries are not as important as formerly.
Other, but closely allied species, occur on the Atlantic coasts of North America, all surpassing the European species in importance as food-fishes and economic value, viz., the American shad (Clupea sapidissima), the gaspereau or ale-wife (C. mattowocca or vernalis), and the menhaden (C. menhaden).
The average size of the menhaden is about 12 in.
Its scientific name is Clupea (or Alosa) menhaden and Brevoortia tyrannus.