Two pieces of menhaden management legislation have passed out of committee in the Virginia General Assembly.
If the legislation is adopted, it would help Virginia’s menhaden fishery to come into compliance with the Atlantic Menhaden Management Plan of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission(ASMFC).
The bills would also transfer management of the fishery in Virginia from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission(VMRC).
The bills, which must still be taken up by the full state legislature and signed by the governor.
Omega has admitted to violating a federal cap set by ASMFC in the area. The ASFMC cut the bay cap by 41% in 2017, in what it described as a precautionary measure, but without a finding of overfishing.
The bills are SB 791, Menhaden; management of the fishery, introduced by senator Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr., a Democrat, passed by the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; and HB 1448, a bill by the same name, introduced by Democratic delegates Nancy Guy and Kenneth Plum, passed by the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources.
Both bills were introduced on Jan. 8.