(VIRGINIA BEACH, VA)—The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) today expressed deep concern following the Omega Protein announcement that it is knowingly and willingly going to exceed the Chesapeake Bay menhaden harvest cap. That cap was overwhelmingly adopted by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) as a precautionary measure to ensure that enough menhaden are left in the Bay to support species that prey on it, like striped bass, bluefish, marine mammals, and birds.
In Virginia menhaden are the only fish species managed by the General Assembly, which has failed to adopt the revised Chesapeake Bay Harvest cap along with other components of the new ASMFC management plan.
In response, CBF Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued this statement.
“Omega’s violation of the cap is a clear demonstration of this Canadian company’s lack of regard for the interstate fisheries management process. Hundreds of thousands of scientists, conservationists, anglers, and concerned citizens participated in developing the new cap. The cap was overwhelming adopted by states and federal agencies as part of the coastwide fishery management plan for Atlantic menhaden.
“This violation is unfortunately another example of Omega’s refusal to do the right thing when it comes to the region’s natural resources. It continues a long history of damaging environmental actions that have included millions of dollars in fines for water quality violations.