Written by Jen Finn
The perennial battle over a small, oily baitfish appears poised, finally, for resolution in the General Assembly, with matching bills to develop a menhaden management plan making their way through the legislature.
The Senate passed its bill Wednesday; the House looks poised to follow suit. That represents a tidal shift in the annual back-and-forth between factions fighting over control of the menhaden population, which plays a critical role in the marine ecology and the economy of communities along the Chesapeake Bay.
Of course, it didn't come without prodding.
Virginia is the only state on the Atlantic coast where lawmakers, rather than scientists, manage the menhaden fishery. Omega Protein, the Texas-based company that runs a commercial menhaden fishing operation in Reedville, has sought to keep it that way. The company, which grinds the fish into dietary supplements, fertilizer and food for livestock and pets, has proven a generous contributor to lawmakers' political campaigns, distributing $124,250 over the past three years.
But a recent decision by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to require Virginia to reduce the annual catch - or face federal sanctions - has had the remarkable effect of enlightening lawmakers to the folly of opposing the use of science to inform management of the fishery.
Read the full story at the Virginian-Pilot>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...