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>>
National Fisherman Live: 1/27/15
In this episode:
Assessment: Atlantic menhaden is not overfished
Bering Sea pollock fishery casts off
Dock to Dish opens Florida’s first CSF
Second wave of disaster funds for Alaska
Fisherman lands N.C.’s largest bluefin ever
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute is still seeking public review and comment on the Alaska Responsible Fisheries Management Conformance Criteria (Version 1.2, September 2011). The public review and comment period, which opened on Dec. 3, 2014, runs through Monday, Feb. 3.
NOAA, in consultation with the Department of the Interior, has appointed 10 new members to the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The 20-member committee is composed of individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience who advise the departments of commerce and the interior on ways to strengthen and connect the nation's MPA programs. The new members join the 10 continuing members appointed in 2012.