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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OMEGA strips Menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay taking immature Menhaden from future spawning stocks and destroys the recreational fishing industry in the Chesapeake Bay. We need to band together to save the future of Virginia's Saltwater Fishing.

http://www.iffo.net/node/814

Kevin
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Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Association
 

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Great video, don't mean to hijack but I attended the candidate forum last night and not all responded to the menhaden question. Sometimes it's hard to find the time to sit down and put our thoughts and frustration to paper but I wrote this to my delegate and senator and plan to modify and send to others. Nothing special but feel free to plagiarize and use if you want.

"...I am writing you to inquire as to your position on restoring the Chesapeake Bay to a healthy, well-balance ecosystem, especially as it relates to menhaden harvesting. As you know, there have been many important projects and steps taken by government agencies and charitable organizations over the past two plus decades to promote the restoration of this national treasure. However, the Chesapeake Bay continues to struggle to provide the resources it once had due to pollution and over harvesting of many species by commercial and recreational interest alike.

In particular, I believe one of the most devastating practices has been the over harvesting of menhaden within Chesapeake Bay waters on an industrial scale by Omega Protein. As a saltwater angler fishing the CBBT area for over 20 years, I have witnessed first-hand the precipitous decline in many of the popular sport fishing species such as bluefish, grey trout, flounder and rockfish. Curiously, I also have noted a lack of large schools of menhaden in the bay being targeted by beehives of birds from above and fish below as was typical. Coincident? I doubt it. The menhaden is by far the most important forage species in the Chesapeake Bay and without them it's easy to understand why other fish have disappeared as well.

Just as every other state on the Atlantic has already done, it's time to stop the over harvesting of juvenile menhaden within the Bay and three miles of the Virginia coast. It's common sense, if we want the bay to have a fighting chance to recover. Not only does Omega's nets devastate the Bay's menhaden population they also do harm to other species that are feeding on the schools, as by-catch. As an example on Sept. 17th, I was out early and marked bait inside the Bay near Cape Henry and found Spanish Mackerel aggressively feeding. A few hours later, I observed Omega's boats in the exact spot within ½ mile of the beach, harvesting menhaden and by all accounts the Spanish bite was non-existent from that point on. This activity took place several weeks after Omega had met with local charter captains and supposedly reached an agreement not to decimate one of the few inshore sport fishing opportunities they have to support their business during summer months. I guess Omega had caught everything else in the bay and simply had nowhere else to go. How can anyone with a straight face believe it to be prudent to take 400 million of these fish annually from the Bay along with all the by-catch?

Regardless of Omega's claims, studies have proven the recreational fishing opportunities in the Chesapeake Bay watershed brings hundreds of millions of dollars into the Virginia economy through boat sales, maintenance, fuel, bait, tackle, charters, tournaments, lodging, etc. and benefit so many more than the process of turning menhaden into cat food. When the boats are sitting at the dock all winter because there are no rockfish to catch, no dollars are spent. We all know what the root of the problem is. The menhaden harvest is regulated by campaign donations and lobbyist, not science and common sense.

If you are not aware, there are two local grassroots organizations that are starting to gain momentum and trying to unite the voices of recreational anglers and others that have come to a similar conclusion, Omega is doing more harm than good for Virginia. It is my hope that these organizations will be effective in putting political pressure on the general assembly to ban menhaden harvesting in the bay and finally turn over regulation to qualified agencies. If you haven't already, I hope that you are willing and eager to join with other supportive elected officials to make this change for the good of Virginia and the Chesapeake Bay.

I appreciate your service to the district and agree with your positions on most issues. I look forward to your response on this important topic and hope we can work together to move this issue forward."


Link to get your Rep's email: http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/members/members.php
 

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Thanks for sharing Mike!
Kevin, At several stops I have made today, people were talking about Omega and the damage to bay.
And what seems like corruption in Government allowing it to do so!
( 2 different hardware stores, convenience store and the Marina)
 

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From watching the video, it looks like the demand for fish oil and fish meal is going to be ever increasing until a suitable alternative is found. I don't so much agree with it being corruption in the government as you have a lot of lobbyists pushing their agenda. The video shows the numerous industries that are profiting from menhaden (not just Omega Protein). I agree with some of what gets said on these message boards; there needs to be a reduction in the menhaden harvest. I think that maybe we should be pushing for more stock restoration efforts to supplement their catches (dont know if this is already happening or not, or if it is possible). I am not sure what the right answer is but I dont think you are going to see Omega vanish from the bay.
 

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From watching the video, it looks like the demand for fish oil and fish meal is going to be ever increasing until a suitable alternative is found. I don't so much agree with it being corruption in the government as you have a lot of lobbyists pushing their agenda. The video shows the numerous industries that are profiting from menhaden (not just Omega Protein). I agree with some of what gets said on these message boards; there needs to be a reduction in the menhaden harvest. I think that maybe we should be pushing for more stock restoration efforts to supplement their catches (dont know if this is already happening or not, or if it is possible). I am not sure what the right answer is but I don't think you are going to see Omega vanish from the bay.
We do not want to stop all commercial fishing of Menhaden in Va waters.

I think most of us are not pushing for reduction, but saying that they not catch 60-80% of the East Coast limit -- in the Chesapeake bay and Va waters. (3 miles out)
It is Omega's methods and fishing on industrial scale that are harming the health of the bay.
If all the other east coast states have pushed Omega out of their bays Virginia can and should! For the same reasons .
Don't know if you have seen this site-- http://www.chesapeakebaydefensefoundation.com/

Welcome to TF! You sure weighted in on a heavy subject for your first post..
 

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Exactly, there is a need for the product but the quota needs to based on science and spread out among the full Atlantic stock so as not to harm other industries and users of the bay's resources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I agree that they should not be allowed to fish inside the Chesapeake Bay or VA Coastal Waters. Based on their data over 90% of their catch in VA waters are juvenile fish that have never spawned and that takes quadrillions of eggs from the annual spawn according to the ASFMC data. In addition they destroying the habitat/bottom of the bay using long nets that wipe the bottom clean and they are continually damaging this great fishery & one of the largest fish nursery in North America.

Seems to me like professional bunch smoke & mirrors from them trying to justify seriously damaging the Mid Atlantic Fisheries for stripers and other sport fish for the sake of aquaculture. Look what happen at George's Bank as a result of Industrial Fishing-now there is no recreational or commercial fishing. They cannot be believed or trusted to do what is right for the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia and that is why everyone else on the East Coast has pushed them out of their coastal waters.

Thanks for keeping the conversation about OMEGA going and growing!

Kevin
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think we need to get Andy Fox
from Wavy tv 10 on this.
Maybe I am wrong, but this video should make everyone that lives around the Chesapeake Bay upset/angry that they are sacrificing the health of the Chesapeake Bay for the good of the Aquaculture Industry. If you think it will help, contact him and anyone else.

Kevin
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Simple facts are that the Menhaden do not reach sexual maturity until they leave the bay. Large mature Menhaden have much more quality oil in them than the immature ones that are raped from the bay.

Other than being lazy and the cost of fuel to get them from the ocean instead of the bay there is no logical reason to allow them to be taken inside of state waters. If fuel is the reason then just raise the price of their product and pass it on to the consumers. If the price is too high then maybe an economical replacement will be found.

Only one question, am I using too much common sence here ??
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Simple facts are that the Menhaden do not reach sexual maturity until they leave the bay. Large mature Menhaden have much more quality oil in them than the immature ones that are raped from the bay.

Other than being lazy and the cost of fuel to get them from the ocean instead of the bay there is no logical reason to allow them to be taken inside of state waters. If fuel is the reason then just raise the price of their product and pass it on to the consumers. If the price is too high then maybe an economical replacement will be found.

Only one question, am I using too much common sence here ??
You are making perfectly good sense.

Consider this? - There is money being paid to companies by our governments to help them for various reasons, so why doesn't Virginia subsidize OMEGA so they can fish outside of our waters. I would not really want to pay the extra taxes, but I think it would be a win for them, a win for the various marine industries, a win for commercial waterman in VA, a big win for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and greatly improve our fisheries. It may also generate more tax revenue than it costs because of more jobs, businesses and anglers as a result.

Kevin
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Consider this? - There is money being paid to companies by our governments to help them for various reasons, so why doesn't Virginia subsidize OMEGA so they can fish outside of our waters. I would not really want to pay the extra taxes, but I think it would be a win for them, a win for the various marine industries, a win for commercial waterman in VA, a big win for the health of the Chesapeake Bay and greatly improve our fisheries. It may also generate more tax revenue than it costs because of more jobs, businesses and anglers as a result.
Kevin
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So you want all of Virginians to pay a Texas company not to take Menhaden from Maryland and Virginia.
I'm all for stopping Omega, but not like this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So you want all of Virginians to pay a Texas company not to take Menhaden from Maryland and Virginia.
I'm all for stopping Omega, but not like this.
It is not the best way or the right way and as I mentioned about I am against subsidizing them too. Just trying to keep the conversation going, get people talking about it and mainly to point out the benefits to everyone if they would fish outside of the Chesapeake Bay.

Kevin
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VSSA.
 

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It is not the best way or the right way and as I mentioned about I am against subsidizing them too. Just trying to keep the conversation going, get people talking about it and mainly to point out the benefits to everyone if they would fish outside of the Chesapeake Bay.

Kevin
Weekend Mistress
VSSA.
The government is really a very mixed up confusing thing to us!
As my dad and grandfather told me when I was a young man "It all comes down to selecting the lesser of 2 evils"
I really have found it to be true!
 
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