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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Menhaden Catch limited

Today, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted to limit the catch of Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
Concerned about potential overharvesting of an important fish in the Chesapeake Bay ecology, a regional commission voted Wednesday to limit the catch of menhaden in the bay despite objections that it would curtail a vital industry on Virginia's Northern Neck.

Virginia's representatives on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission opposed the cap and raised the possibility that the state will defy the new regulations.
This is a big issue on the Northern Neck, where Rob Wittman and Linda Crandell are running for Al Pollard's old seat.

This will become a issue for voters because, while the General Assembly MUST comply with the ASMRC caps, they apparently have some leeway on how to implement the cap.
The Virginia General Assembly must enact new laws to implement the commission's mandate. But commission chairman Jack Travelstead, who also is fisheries manager for the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and opposed the new restrictions, said he is unsure what the legislature will do.

"I don't know where Virginia will end up in compliance on this matter," Travelstead said. "We'll have to have some long discussions."
Del. Pollard was generally a defender of the menhaden industry, and it will be interesting to see if Mr. Wittman and Ms. Crandell take the same position.


Anonymous William Jackson said...

It's about time. Virginia is the only state on the eastern seaboard that allows this. Menhaden are feader fish, meaning bigger sportfish like rockfish eat them. With their diminishing population over the years, the rockfish have been fewer and smaller. This is one regulation this republican is glad to see.

10:19 AM

Anonymous NOVA Scout said...

The Chesapeake is a marvelous lab for testing methods of preserving dwindling sea life. the Rockfish moratorium experience established that there is a great deal of resiliency to the system if we can find equitable ways of getting humans to give it a rest now and then. Virginia conservationists (particularly those of us who fly the conservative banner) need to encourage Virginia to do its share. A major problem, of course, is that the watermen and their families who pay the price of moratoria must be treated fairly. Otherwise, we get to spout the rhetoric and they get to take the economic hit. If we can achieve a consensus that we care enough about the Bay to preserve its contents, we have to be wiling to find ways to protect those who are immediately injured by conservation measures.

10:16 PM


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