You Guys Switched Threads On Me So I am Moving My Response to this one which seems a bit more active.
Crazymofo........since your found it necessary to post your education and Alma Mater up front... than it would be interesting to have you qualify your resume in terms of how long you have been working (post graduate) in the field of fishery management or related science field. With all due respect, you make and absolute scientific statement as to the fact that
"I, along with the institute, have been conducting exhausting studies on the menhadden fisheries and stock and we have concluded that the Atlantic Coast Stock is at healthy levels, including those found in the Chesapeake Bay".
There has been much discussion and disagreement on this matter but I have yet to see the scientific community take this absolute postion. Omega by their own admission and from their sales and profit reports show a reduction in both the number of Menhaden and also the quality of Menhaden (I will get to that later).
Who is Mr. Lockhart and what is his relationship to this issue (just curious)?
If the ASMFC agrees that the Menhaden population is healthy than why did they vote 12 to 3 ( may be off by 1 or 2) to impose a poundage cap on Omega while studies continued on this matter. I understand why Virginia and PRFC voted against it but clearly there was sufficient concern and doubt to cause the other 12 states to take a pause.
You are clearly far more knowledgable than I on the economical situation surrounding Northumberland, VA and I expect that most if not all of what you say regarding this subject is true and accurate but Omega will not solve a large scale economically depressed situation that you describe. Omega is a relatively small company with sales of approximately $120 Mil of which a significant portion is in Mississippi and Louisiana. Total employee count is approximately 1,000 of which a bit more than 200 work in Reedville. Northumberland and other areas throughout the U.S. will continue to struggle economically until such time that conditions exist that attract businesses and an infusion of cash. I applaud your desire to keep that area the same way it was 50 years ago but there is unfortunately a price to pay for unobstructed views and fresh air (oops can't make that claim........smile)
I clearly agree with you claim that water quality is a prime source for the problems of the bay and clearly encroachment, the building boom, and still uncontrolled handling of waste by corporations need to be seriously addressed. At the same time, Omega removes the most efficent filter feeder left in the bay and it is in my opinion impacting the water quality along with numerous other factors.
Omega as a company and even before the "Cap" was imposed admits that their business is in a decline. They are barely profitable making 2% profit on sales of approximately $120 Mil in sales. Most board of directors of most corporations would fire CEO's and managers for delivering this low of a profit margin but to omega they view it as a volume business and thus try and increase their volume. At 7 cents a pound do you know how many menhaden you have to catch to achieve sales of $120,000,000? Omega in reports to their share holders blame the decline on 1) lower volume catches than anticipated and 2) a decline in the quality of the menhaden being caught in terms of fat content etc.
Menhadden is not the only bait used by crabbing and chumming with bunker is not the only approach for hook and lining. Razor clams are often used and many are switching from Menhaden to other baits as it is becoming difficult to find bunker from the local pound nets and those who have tradionally sold it. Maybe not down in your area but clearly in the Potomac River and portions of the bay.
The spring Rock Fish season was in fact one of the best ones in the past 5-6 years but I personally don't believe it had anything to do with Bunker jumping into my boat but rather ideal weather conditions that allowed the tempertures to hover at the low 50's for a prolonged period of time which stretched out the spawning season and slowed the return of migratory Rock Fish to the colder Northern Waters.
You seem to have a very good handle on the history of the local area but I caution you to not let local sentiment cloud your scientific conclusions. As with at least one other person I would appreciate seeing evidence that backs up your claims regarding the state and health of the Menhaden and I truly hope your correct and I will bow to your knowledge if this is true.
Regardless I appreciate you inputs and welcome your views and thoughts on this most difficult subject. If anyone is interested in the facts and information I provided regarding Omega, you can view them on Omega's home page.
Jim (Instigator)............pardon my numerous spelling mistakes!
The following is a small example Directly off the Omega Webpage but 100's of other articles not generated by Omega exist on this subject:
Omega Protein Reports $3.2 Million Profit For 2004
HOUSTON, March 9, 2005 - Omega Protein Corporation (NYSE symbol: OME), the world's largest manufacturer of heart-healthy fish oils containing long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, today reported net income for the 2004 fiscal year of $3.2 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with net income of $5.8 million, or 24 cents a share, the previous year.
Omega Protein recorded revenues of $119.6 million for the 2004 fiscal year which ended December 31, compared with revenues of $117.9 million for 2003. Operating income for 2004 was $5.3 million, versus operating income of $9.5 million for the prior year.
For the fourth quarter of 2004, the Company recorded net loss of $1.1 million, compared with net income of $31,000 the corresponding 2003 quarter. Revenues for the quarter which ended December 31, 2004 were $26.6 million, versus revenues of $33.4 million for the corresponding 2003 quarter. Omega Protein had an operating loss of $1.6 million for the 2004 fourth quarter, compared with an operating loss of $95,000 for the 2003 fourth quarter.
Omega Protein's fourth quarter results, as well as the results for the full year, reflect a lower than expected fish catch (approximately 18% below 2004 expectations and approximately 8% below 2003 fish catch level), combined with low oil yields. The reduced fish catch was primarily attributable to adverse weather conditions in the Gulf of Mexico and the low oil yields were due to reduced fat content of the fish. The reduced fish catch and low oil yields resulted in higher per unit cost inventories, as well as less product available for sale.