A Virginian Pilot story was highlighted here yesterday, but chances are that menhaden is not a subject that strikes home. It should and Senator Northam (D-6th) understands this. The shameful line is that the company that profits from a healthy species population is opposed to shifting regulation to scientists.
“Last General Assembly session in Richmond, I introduced legislation that would have moved management responsibility for menhaden, a filter feeding fish that is a keystone species in the Chesapeake Bay, to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). Menhaden is the only marine species currently managed by the General Assembly, rather than VMRC, and it seemed like common sense to me to have VMRC manage this species, as well. However, my bill ran into stiff opposition, and it was apparent that other members of the General Assembly felt it was best to maintain the status quo.” – Northam in his July Newsletter
“Texas-based Omega Protein is used to having its way with Virginia. Each year, it is allowed to harvest more than 100,000 metric tons of menhaden in state waters; it is forbidden from industrial fishing in any other East Coast state (emphasis added).” – Virginia Pilot story
Something else for Virginia to be proud of. Certainly the General Assembly is more qualified to regulate the fishery than the Marine Resource Council “which exists to regulate the state’s fisheries.” If you missed the Pilot story yesterday, it is more than worth your time. And let your assembly members know you support Senator Northam’s efforts.