Today the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) Menhaden Management Board found Virginia out of compliance with the menhaden harvest cap on the Chesapeake Bay reduction fishery. In September, Omega Protein announced that it would break the 51,000 metric ton cap on the menhaden harvest in the Bay. The issue will be referred to the ASMFC Policy Board on Thursday for additional consideration and possible forwarding to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which will determine any penalties for noncompliance.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement.
“For its own profit Omega Protein has now tarnished Virginia’s reputation as a responsible steward of its fisheries. This disappointing step follows Omega’s long history of environmental and financial transgressions, including numerous Clean Water Act violations and malfeasance under Securities and Exchange Commission rules. Allowing this foreign company to further threaten Chesapeake Bay resources and the ASMFC’s longstanding cooperative process to manage fisheries between coastal states would be a travesty.
“The Northam Administration and Virginia Marine Resources Commission have made determined efforts to proactively manage other coastal migratory species, including striped bass, blue crabs and summer flounder. Unfortunately, Virginians continue to suffer from one company that violates the spirit of cooperative fisheries management and the wishes of thousands of Virginians who want to see menhaden managed under a precautionary approach in the Chesapeake Bay.”