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Archive for February, 2018

Feb 19 2018

CONTACT YOUR REPRESENTATIVES IN VA GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO SUPPORT AND VOTE FOR HB 1610

Published by under Fishing News

Atlantic MenhadenCCA Virginia urges support for new legislation(HB 1610) that would ensure Virginia avoids the consequences of falling out of compliance with the latest menhaden fishery management plan. On behalf of Gov. Ralph Northam, Delegate Barry Knight has introduced a bill that would implement the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic menhaden.

“The menhaden management plan is a compromise that maintains Virginia’s robust fisheries while ensuring this critical fish continues to play its key role in the Bay’s food chain,” said Chris Moore, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Regional Ecosystem Scientist. “If this modest bill doesn’t pass, Virginia could be banned from catching menhaden completely. Failure to implement the latest menhaden management plan would also undermine Virginia’s good standing with the ASMFC, which helps manage over 20 other fisheries.” 

Menhaden are a small oily fish that make up the biggest commercial fishery by volume on the Atlantic Coast. More than 70 percent of the Atlantic Coast’s menhaden harvest is caught in Virginia waters by Omega Protein, which was recently purchased by Canada-based Cooke Seafood. Menhaden also play a vital role in the Chesapeake Bay’s food chain, making up an important part of the diet of whales, sea birds, and sport fish such as striped bass.

Last November the ASMFC overwhelmingly adopted updates to a menhaden management plan by a 17 to 1 vote. This plan, known as Amendment 3, was backed by the latest science and took into account input from over 150,000 stakeholders. These updates help protect nursery areas for species such as striped bass and menhaden while ensuring the menhaden’s ecological and economic benefits are distributed equitably among various states and fisheries. Virginia’s General Assembly must now implement these changes in order to avoid the consequences of falling out of compliance with the Interstate Fishery Management Plan.

The legislation includes several simple modifications to Virginia’s state code that ensure conformity with the ASMFC’s updates. That includes a higher overall quota for Virginia’s Atlantic Coast menhaden catch, as well as a Chesapeake Bay harvest cap at the average level that has been caught in the Bay over the last five years. Implementing this plan would also provide regulatory certainty for fisheries operating in Virginia waters.

BACKGROUND

HB 1610 Menhaden; total landings.

Introduced by: Barry D. Knight

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Menhaden; total landings. Adjusts the annual total allowable landings for upward from 168,937.75 metric tons to 170,797.17 metric tons and provides that any portion of the coast-wide total allowable catch that is relinquished by a state that is a member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission shall be redistributed to Virginia and other states according to the Commission’s allocation guidelines. The bill adjusts the annual harvest cap for the purse seine fishery for Atlantic menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay downward from 87,216 metric tons to 51,000 metric tons. The bill also removes a provision that applied the amount by which certain actual Chesapeake Bay harvests fall below the harvest cap as a credit to the following year.

FULL TEXT

HISTORY

Read Gov. Northam’s office’s press release  http://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=25492 on the legislation.

 

Who’s My Legislator? Service

District maps are available from the service.

Need to contact your legislators? The Who’s My Legislator? service is an online tool where the public at-large can determine what legislators represent them. Users can enter their home address or use map based navigation to see their Virginia House and Senate representatives, as well as those in the U.S. House and Senate.

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