VA Lawmakers Consider Cut In Menhaden Catch

Jan 17, 2013

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia legislators are set to consider a 20 percent cut in the catch of menhaden, an oily fish used in dietary supplements, animal feed and other purposes.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted last month in Baltimore to reduce the commercial catch of the pudgy fish. A House of Delegates subcommittee is scheduled to review that decision on Thursday.

The Omega Protein plant in Reedville lands about 80 percent of the catch and employs about 300. The company had supported an overall 10 percent cut.

Environmentalists and recreational fishermen lobbied for the cuts. They say schools of menhaden are a key food for such prized fish as striped bass, and the filter feeders improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.