(RICHMOND, VA)—Today key committees in Virginia’s Senate and House of Delegates passed bipartisan legislation to transfer management of Virginia’s menhaden fishery from the General Assembly to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC).
Both the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee and Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources Menhaden Subcommittee approved this legislation today. This comes after Omega Protein caught more menhaden in Virginia waters in 2019 than allowed by a Chesapeake Bay harvest cap. The U.S. Commerce Department will impose a moratorium on Virginia’s menhaden harvest if the fishery is not in compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s menhaden management plan by June 17, 2020.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist Chris Moore issued the following statement.
“This has been a long time coming. For more than a decade, time and again similar legislation failed to get out of committee. This gives me hope that the full House and Senate will soon pass a bill to finally allow the VMRC to manage Virginia’s menhaden fishery, just as they do with all others.
“This legislation strongly supports sustainable fisheries, avoids a shutdown of all the Commonwealth’s menhaden fisheries, and ensures more timely management of Virginia’s various menhaden fisheries in the future. CBF would like to thank the Northam Administration and members of both the House and Senate who have long supported this effort.”