Members of the Menhaden Fisheries Coalition joined the greater Reedville, Va., community on Thursday, June 4, in welcoming Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who issued an official proclamation marking Virginia’s allowable menhaden harvest for this year at 158,700 metric tons. The governor’s action implements a 10 percent increase over last year’s harvest level, which was approved last month by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
“We need to have a strong and successful menhaden fishery,” said the McAuliffe, who delivered his remarks in the shadow of the landmark Reedville smokestack.
“This announcement is a much-needed boost for our regional menhaden fishery, which is only now getting the recognition it deserves for being responsibly and sustainably managed,” said Kim Huskey, executive director of the Virginia Seafood Council. “We’re delighted to have the governor recognize that this fishery is fundamental to our cultural heritage, and that it plays an economically essential role in Virginia. We thank him for his support.”
The Menhaden Fisheries Coalition – which represents more than 90 percent of menhaden fishermen, related businesses and supporting industries along the Atlantic Coast – has long advocated for responsible harvest increases. For the past two years, the fishery has suffered under excessively reduced harvest limits, the result of a deeply flawed and heavily criticized 2012 stock assessment.
An updated and improved menhaden assessment this year aligns menhaden science with what coalition members have been saying since before the cuts went into place: Menhaden are sustainably harvested and not overfished. The commission voted on and approved this year’s higher levels of harvest as a result, a decision welcomed by the fishery.
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