The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Menhaden Management Board postponed a decision on Virginia’s compliance with the latest menhaden harvest cap on the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery until its February meeting. Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore released the following statement.
“Omega Protein continues to undertake a risky gamble with the health of the Bay’s menhaden population, undermining ASMFC’s efforts to ensure vibrant fish populations and healthy fisheries all along the Atlantic Coast. Omega should use this opportunity to work with Virginia to ensure compliance with the coastwide management plan for Atlantic Menhaden. In recent years the company’s total catch in the Bay has been well below the ASMFC’s new quota. Respecting the revised Bay cap will help ensure a healthier Chesapeake Bay.
“Lobbying by Omega ensured that Virginia’s General Assembly didn’t pass legislation last session that included modest updates to the harvest quota for the Chesapeake Bay menhaden reduction fishery. Next session legislators must pass a bill to adopt these modest changes to ensure Virginia maintains a strong partnership with other states on coastwide fisheries management.”