Friday, January 18, 2013

Virginia Begins Menhaden Catch Reduction

Lawmakers approve menhaden management plan

Virginia lawmakers on Thursday took the first step to reduce the state's menhaden fishery by 20 percent when bills sailed unopposed through lower committees.

The Chesapeake Subcommittee in the House of Delegates and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee approved similar measures that, if approved by the General Assembly and the governor, will put the commonwealth into compliance with a management plan approved last month by a multistate commission.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) moved to impose the first-ever coastwide cap on Atlantic menhaden in an effort to give the beleaguered stock a chance to rebuild. Failing to comply could mean the entire fishery in Virginia could be shut down.

"I think it's a very fine compromise, and a lot of people didn't want to do anything to upset the apple cart," said Chris Moore, Hampton Roads senior scientist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, after the vote.
I don't think a 20% reduction will make much difference in the Menhaden population, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.

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