Environmentalists and small-scale fishermen faced off against a processing giant along familiar battle lines Monday night in Newport News at a public hearing over a new draft management plan for Atlantic menhaden."... concerns about the declining menhaden stock are unfounded outside the Chesapeake Bay"...
...Chris Moore, Hampton Roads senior scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, spoke for many when he urged adopting various measures to reduce harvest levels by 25 percent to eliminate overfishing, achieve a new target fishing mortality rate within five years and allocate a 70-30 split in the menhaden harvest between the industrial fishery and local bait fishery.
Meanwhile, the general manager of Omega Protein, Monty Deihl, said concerns about declining menhaden stock are unfounded outside the Chesapeake Bay. Rolling back harvest levels across the board now, he said, would only harm his company and the many others that depend on it for their livelihood, endangering thousands of jobs.
If true, that's good. However, history is replete with examples of fisheries that were going along just fine until they crashed. A sudden weather or climate induced downturn of the fish recruitment combined with continued fishing has decimated (or more) many a fish stock.
However, I'm more concerned with the menhaden stocks inside the Chesapeake Bay, especially in the Maryland portion of the bay. To all appearances the remain at a fraction of the pre-Omega days.