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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fellow anglers. At the next ASMFC meeting, the Atlantic Menhaden Management Board will hear requests from Omega to increase the menhaden allocation to at least the previous levels before cuts were made. The meeting is 5 May 2015 in Alexandria, VA. Arguments will be made that using recent questionable science that bunker stocks are healthy and there should be no reason to keep the cuts in place. Using questionable science, the ASMFC could approve the request increase the allocation which would results in even more bunker taken from our waters.

Most recreational fishing groups including the CCA and RFA and now the VSSA oppose any increases in menhaden allocations at this time. Our main issue with Omega is they don't take menhaden from the entire Atlantic coast, they vacuum bunker from Virginia waters. The Omega fleet, with their spotter planes work the mouth of the bay and coastal waters of Virginia. If a school pops up, the spotter plane sends the fleet and the entire school is gone using their purse seine nets. The end result is fewer bunker in the waters for Virginia. While other coastal states may have better populations of bunker, Virginia gets vacuumed up everyday the season is in place.

We ask that all Virginia anglers send a letter, fax and/or email to arrive by 28 Apr 2015 (sorry for the short notice). Letters should be addressed to:

Chairman, Atlantic Menhaden Management Board
1050 N. Highland Street
Arlington, VA 22201

Fax should be sent to: 703-842-0741 (if you don't have a fax machine, you can send a free fax using free online fax services such as https://faxzero.com/)

Emails should be sent to: Attn: Chairman, Atlantic Menhaden Management Board [email protected] and/or [email protected]

If you are available to attend the meeting to show your opposition to bunker increases, the meeting is 400 Courthouse Square
Alexandria, Virginia 22314, 8 am to 11 am 5 May 2015.
The VSSA is planning to have a representative attend. Please send your letters, emails, and faxes today to arrive NLT 28 Apr. Suggested letter to send (please add your own wording for a bigger impact and add your name and address):

Dear Chairman, Atlantic Menhaden Management Board (Mr. R. Boyles Jr.),

I am a recreational fisherman from Virginia. Myself and thousands of my fellow anglers strongly oppose any increase in menhaden allocations at this time. I have been fishing the waters of Virginia for xy years and can personally attest that each year the bunker populations in our waters decrease year after year. This has resulted in significantly less numbers of fish available in our water to recreationally fish for as the fish simply keep moving until they find a source of food. Omega purse seine fleets continue decimate all bunker in Virginia waters. The wholesale slaughter of bunker is not evenly distributed along the Atlantic coast, the slaughter occurs in just our waters off Virginia. This results in fewer and fewer bunker schools available as a food source for fish arriving in Virginia waters. Even if the board concludes bunker stocks are rebounding for the entire Atlantic coast, I can assure you menhaden stocks are not healthy in the waters of Virginia where Omega takes bunker. I urge the board to not approve any increases in menhaden allocations at this time. Thank you for your time.
 

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Thanks for posting and done. Added some to the letter. Hopefully didn't come off as too snarky but hard not to be.

"Dear Chairman, Atlantic Menhaden Management Board (Mr. R. Boyles Jr.),

I am a recreational fisherman from Virginia. I strongly oppose any increase in menhaden allocations at this time.

I have been fishing the waters of Virginia for 30+ years and can personally attest that each year the bunker populations in our waters have continued to decrease year after year. I can remember as a child in the 80s regularly seeing huge schools of mature bunker swimming in our rivers. These days the biggest fish I generally see is no more than 6 inches or so and only in late summer so most of these fish are likely first year spawn cycle fish.

Anyone who has fished for 15 or more years in the bay area knows that the fishing is cyclical but they also know that the large numbers of predatory fish are WAY down. Gone are the days of speckled trout, flounder, grey trout, large numbers of striper, chopper blues, etc... This is a direct result of poor management of the menhaden stock and the corporate greed shown by companies such as Omega that continue to target and decimate immature bunker in the rivers and bays of Virginia. Historical menhaden stocks in the bay are not even CLOSE to healthy in the Virginia ecosystem. They are in fact, 1/4th or less of what they were in the 80s and this is a stone cold FACT. Not pseudo science proposed by those with an economic interest. To suggest that they are "healthy" enough to support an increase is not only incorrect but laughable.

Menhaden was once believed to compose over 75% of the diet of a striped bass. Today that number is less than 8%. Do you see the correlation here? Do you maybe think it stretches to other species?

I urge the board to not approve any increases in menhaden allocations at this time. Further, I strongly urge a that the board decreases or at least imposes better management practices such that the immature fish stocks throughout the Chesapeake estuary have a chance to grow to maturity and with them the predatory fish that rely on them.

Thank you for your time."
 

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FYI

Just to let you know that my formal powerpoint presentation to the VMRC and others regarding my pet peeve - supply and demand of species reproduction and availability (as it applies to our fisheries policies,) have been included in the package that goes to the ASMFC for discussion. No one knows if it will be dead on arrival, or start a new direction. My pessimism tells me it will be DOA, same as at the VMRC years ago.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to everyone who wrote letters and emails for this effort. I am sad to report our efforts failed and the ASMFC voted to reverse the cuts. While I very disappointed (as I'm sure most of you are), I am not surprised at the results. Sad day for the bay, our fellow anglers, and our fish that rely on bunker to survive. The VSSA had letters in opposition in the public comments as well as had a representative at the meeting. This only proves to reinforce my belief that Virginia anglers need to get better organized so we are moving full steam ahead in standing up the VSSA.

http://www.dailypress.com/news/science/dp-nws-menhaden-meeting-20150505-story.html
 
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