After a meeting of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Menhaden Management Board on Tuesday, August 7, Reedville’s industrial menhaden operations at Omega Protein will be able to continue fishing for the rest of the year and its 300 employees will be able to keep working. There had been some question about that.
In 2017, the ASMFC reduced the menhaden catch limit from the Chesapeake Bay by 40 per cent to 51,000 metric tons. Since Virginia’s menhaden industry is controlled by the General Assembly the General Assembly would have had to enact a law accepting the limit for it to be in force in Virginia. It didn’t. That left Omega vulnerable to being found “out of compliance” by the ASMFC and to being shut down as a result. At the Aug 7 meeting, the management board put off a decision on the non-compliance question until its February 2019 meeting.
Steve Bowman, Commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, advised the management board that Omega’s landings from the Bay as of the end of June totaled 24,000 metric tons. It is highly unlikely that lands will reach the level of the cap by the end of the fishing season, he said. In those circumstances, he asked the management board not to consider the non-compliance question until the cap is actually exceeded.
The management board declined to adopt Bowman’s suggestion but did put off deciding the matter until its February meeting.
For the full article pick up a copy of this weeks Northumberland Echo 8/15/18