Menhaden defenders

DEFENDERS:
We encourage you and your club to send off a letter like this to the ASMFC, Dept of Commerce and NMFS.
Caring is sharing, please do your part and fight back!
More info and how to support our work at menhadendefenders.org

Omega Violating Chesapeake Bay Cap: Time for Accountability

Omega Protein recently announced that they will exceed the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishing Cap of 51,000 MT, undermining conservation in the Chesapeake Bay and directly impacting recreational fishing. The ASMFC should now allow this to stand.

Omega Protein is a foreign-owned industrial harvester that sucks up more than 70 percent of coast-wide menhaden catch, and this announcement of the Bay Cap violation is yet another example of what a bad actor this company is. Omega Protein has violated the Clean Water Act on numerous occasions and earlier this month was fined by the SEC for mispresenting their violations of federal law in connection with Federal loans provided to the company. Omega vessels frequently run recreational anglers off their fishing grounds, setting nets around boats to suck up vast quantities of menhaden. The company has also had dozens of OSHA violations and conducts a dirty fishery with numerous on-the-Bay accounts of wasteful by-catch, including cobia, red drum, and bluefish.

Recreational anglers and the recreational fishing economy pay the price for all of this bad behavior. Research suggests that the reduction fishery could be responsible for as much as a 30 percent decline in striped bass. At a time when anglers are being asked to reduce their take of striped bass, this violation of the Chesapeake Bay Cap adds insult to injury.

The striped bass fishery generated $7.8 billion toward our nation’s gross domestic product and recreational anglers accounted for 98 percent of the total economic contribution. The economics of recreational fishing dwarf whatever economic benefit that comes from the foreign owned reduction industry.

Menhaden are critical to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem and Omega Protein’s claim that there is no scientific basis for Bay Cap is false. Omega has been unable to prove that their industrial fishery does not adversely impact the Bay. Every other state on the East Coast has banned the practice of reduction fishing and now is time for the ASMFC to hold this company accountable to the fishery management plan.

Omega Protein is a foreign-owned industrial harvester that sucks up more than 70 percent of coast-wide menhaden catch, and this announcement of the Bay Cap violation is yet another example of what a bad actor this company is. Omega Protein has violated the Clean Water Act on numerous occasions and earlier this month was fined by the SEC for mispresenting their violations of federal law in connection with Federal loans provided to the company. Omega vessels frequently run recreational anglers off their fishing grounds, setting nets around boats to suck up vast quantities of menhaden. The company has also had dozens of OSHA violations and conducts a dirty fishery with numerous on-the-Bay accounts of wasteful by-catch, including cobia, red drum and bluefish.

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