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Menhaden General Assembly Positions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are asking everyone to contact their representative in both the House and Senate and ask if they support menhaden conservation in the Chesapeake Bay.  Please go to this website to find out who your representatives are:  https://www.virginia.gov/services/whos-my-legislator/

Then ask at a minimum the following questions and report back a summary of your conversation in the appropriate section below.  

  1.   Are you aware that a single foreign owned company in Reedville, VA is taking large numbers of menhaden from the Chesapeake Bay?
  2.   Are you aware this company is over the bay quota set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)?
  3.   Would you support a bill to move management from the GA to VMRC who manages every other saltwater fish in Virginia?
  4.   Would you be willing to contact other Senators / Delegates to gather support for this bill?
  5.   Do you consent to this conversation being summarized on the open web for voters to see?

 

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Mark Downey (Positive Response)

Thank you Bill for reaching out to the campaign. We further researched the topic on the Chesapeake Bay Foundation website and are concerned with the impact on the ecological system in the Chesapeake Bay if the menhaden population is not where it needs to be. Dr. Downey has also pledged to not accept corporate campaign contributions; it sounds like there are issues stemming from the relationship some legislators have with "Omega Protein Corporation." Dr. Downey supports the proper menhaden management in the Chesapeake Bay, as he also supports other environmental initiatives to protect the Bay and move Virginia to a clean energy economy.

Thank you,

Rebecca Leser

Deputy Campaign Manager, Downey For Virginia

 

On Wed, Oct 9, 2019 at 5:02 PM Bill Dunn  wrote:

As a prelude to the fall elections and new bills that will be introduced this coming spring I would like to make you aware of an issue that affects all of us that enjoy the benefits of a great natural resource which is the Chesapeake Bay

Several times in past years there have been multiple bills introduced to move the management of the Menhaden fishery to the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC) instead of being managed by the Virginia General Assembly.

The Virginia General Assembly lacks the tools, knowledge ability and the desire to manage a resource as valuable as the Menhaden fishery in Virginia and most notably in the past year failed to pass legislation to abide by Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Chesapeake Bay cap of 51,000 mt which has resulted in the Canadian company “Omega Protein” blatantly ignoring this Federal Fisheries Management organizations mandated limits as they already, by their own admission, have gone over the 51,000 mt limit set by ASMFC and have continued to illegally harvest menhaden which could cause the Secretary of State to shut down the entire fishery within Virginia.

Bills will again be introduced this spring into the General Assembly to move management of the Menhaden fishery to the VMRC and 1000’s of Virginians will be watching the results this time.

Even with a much reduced budget and staff, the VMRC continues to do a good job of managing an increasing array of marine species in Virginia and the fisheries management responsibilities for menhaden should be in their realm.

The Virginia General Assembly, for totally political reasons, refuses to discuss the issue of this fishery being managed by the VMRC as it never gets out of the sub-committees. There are many legislators who receive special re-election benefits from Omega Protein Corporation which is an abuser of political and environmental privilege. When legislation, introduced by concerned delegates, becomes assigned to the Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee, those favored delegates on the committee will not allow the GA to vote on the issue and either kill the bill or allow it to die in Committee. This has been going on for years as Omega Protein Corporation continues to abuse the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay, which belongs to all Virginians, for the sole benefit of a Canadian owned corporation.

The Chesapeake Bay is not doing so well these days.
Much is indicating that the quality of water and the favorable species of life in the Bay is diminishing annually.
I am one among many who believe that the massive industrial harvest of Menhaden, an extremely important filter feeder that also cleans the water inside the Chesapeake Bay, is a major contributor to the decline in water quality.  Also, the loss of Menhaden as a forage species plays a major role in the decline of other species which rely on Menhaden availability as a primary food source to many other fish, birds etc that live in the Chesapeake Bay.

Studies on the stock status of Menhaden indicate that Menhaden fish are in good shape in the Atlantic Ocean, however many observers show the opposite for Menhaden stocks inside the Chesapeake Bay. I have personally seen these declines in my many years of living on and recreational use of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. All the other states along the Atlantic seaboard have already prohibited the heavy-industrial scale harvests of the Menhaden Reduction industry “Omega Protein Corporation” within the 3 mile limit of their states waters. It is imperative that Virginia must, at the very least, turn the fisheries management of this extremely environmentally important fishery over to the VMRC in order to reverse the steep ecological decline in the Chesapeake Bay.

Please reply back as to your stand on this measure and your name will be sent to many people who support this and vote in your district.

NOTE: If no response is received then it will be assumed that you do not support this change for proper menhaden management in the Chesapeake Bay.

Sincerely,

Wm Dunn

Member - Menhaden Task Force

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