Hold Omega Protein Accountable for Breaking Rules in the Chesapeake BayOmega Protein, the sole industrial harvester of menhaden on the East Coast, has brazenly announced that it knowingly overfished its menhaden quota by almost 35 million pounds. The foreign-owned company harvested 67,000 metric tons (147,668,000 pounds) of menhaden from Virginia waters of the Chesapeake Bay and has been unapologetic about its intentions to no longer abide by the harvest cap lawfully set by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
For this reason, ASMFC voted unanimously in October to find the state of Virginia out of compliance with its menhaden fishery management plan. Virginia is the only East Coast state that still allows reduction harvesters in state waters where commercial harvest of menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay has been under intense scrutiny for decades due to its concentrated removals of a critical food source for striped bass and other important sportfish in their primary spawning grounds on the East Coast. Some studies indicate the menhaden fishery could be reducing striped bass populations by as much as 30 percent.
Anglers have applauded the ASMFC for its decision to find the State of Virginia out of compliance due to the careless actions of Omega Protein and are now calling on U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to uphold that finding and ensure that no one is allowed to willfully ignore U.S. laws and regulations.
By signing this petition, you will be joining thousands of conservationists in their call for Secretary Ross to defend the marine resources of the United States and shut down the menhaden fishery in Virginia until Omega Protein comes back into compliance with the fishery management plan.