Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Virginia Slashes Bay Menhaden Quota

Chesapeake Bay’s menhaden catch cut drastically, along with Omega Protein quota
Virginia is cutting this year’s Chesapeake Bay menhaden catch by more than 80% from last year’s landings in order to end a federal moratorium.

Federal fisheries officials said they’d bar fishing for menhaden in the Bay this year — as long as the fish were headed for Omega Protein’s fish oil and fishmeal plant in Reedville — because the state had not enacted a 41.5% cut to 51,000 tons in Omega’s quota, which had been imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in 2017.

But the new Virginia regulation, approved by the Marine Resources Commission on Tuesday, sets an even lower quota for Omega, of 36,192 tons.

The 14,000 ton difference is equal to the difference between what Omega caught in the Bay last year and the 51,000 ton cap, said Deputy Commissioner Ellen Bolen. The commission’s chief of fisheries management, Pat Geer, said Tuesday that he expects the cap would return to the 51,000 ton level if the 2020 catch is below the 36,192 ton level.

Omega says it still plans to operate all nine boats in its fleet but that it’ll spend more time out in the ocean, where weather and rough seas make fishing more dangerous.
That's a good start.

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