The Virginia Marine Resources Commission on Tuesday chose not to place new limits on the menhaden purse seine fishery. The decision came after an hours-long hearing that included roughly three dozen public commenters.
The Commission approved a non-binding motion to try and reach an agreement with the Omega Protein and the menhaden industry.
The proposal would have prohibited harvesting menhaden by purse seines within one mile of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Virginia Beach and one-half mile of either side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, and would have prohibited purse seine fishing for menhaden on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, as well as July 1 through July 7.
The most recent assessment in early 2020 determined Atlantic menhaden are not overfished.
VMRC is urging for cooperation from Omega, that the company will voluntarily agree not to fish in bay waters on certain holiday weekends or within a half-mile of the CBBT. They also want the company to work with state officials on possible no-fishing buffer areas.
Robert Wells says
This meeting was fixed right from the start. Omega brought all of their employees and boat captains, filling the room so that no one else was allowed in. The proposal brought forth by the Governor, and supported by all speakers, other than those from Omega, stood no chance. Instead, MOU proposed by Omega was passed and is totally unenforceable.