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REEDVILLE, Va. (AP) — For more than a century, generations of black fishermen on the Chesapeake Bay have caught a fish called Atlantic menhaden.

The fishermen now fear they could lose their jobs. Their employer, Omega Protein, exceeded catch limits last year, prompting the Trump Administration to threaten a moratorium in Virginia waters.

The fish is used these days to make fish oil pills and farm-raised salmon feed.

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NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — The Trump Administration is threatening to effectively ban a company that makes fish-oil pills from fishing in the Chesapeake Bay over concerns about overfishing. That company is Omega Protein.

Earlier this year, it exceeded harvest limits by more than 30 percent on an oily fish called Atlantic menhaden.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said Thursday that Virginia lawmakers must bring the state into compliance with harvest limits that were set by an interstate commission.

(AP) Governors in nine states along the Atlantic coast are urging the Trump Administration to stop a company that makes fish-oil supplements from fishing in Virginia waters.

A letter sent Friday from those governors echoes concerns of fishing regulators who say Omega Protein defied harvest limits in the Chesapeake Bay.  

The firm catches a fish called Atlantic menhaden that's considered a vital link to the bay's food chain. Menhaden are food for striped bass, whales and other animals.

Omega Protein

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia's governor is urging the Trump administration to stop a company that makes fish-oil supplements from fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Gov. Ralph Northam has asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to place a moratorium on the catching of menhaden in the bay.

Northam's letter, dated Wednesday, says the moratorium will protect a fish that's vital to the bay's food chain and serves as food for striped bass, dolphins and birds.

ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - One of the most important species of fish in the ocean's food chain is getting a close look to help determine the health of its population.

Two arms of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission are working on an assessment of the menhaden stock. The commission is an interstate board that regulates coastal fisheries.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill intended to bring Virginia into compliance with an interstate body's decision regarding Atlantic menhaden catch limits has died in the House of Delegates.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports Del. Barry Knight made a motion Tuesday to send his bill back to committee, effectively killing it for the year.

The bill would have committed the state to pursuing an appeal of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's decision to adopt new catch limits.

LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) - Interstate fishing regulators are deciding whether they want to change the way they manage a tiny fish that plays a critical role in the ocean's food chain.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is taking up the subject of menhaden on Monday and Tuesday at a meeting in Linthicum, Maryland. The fish are the subject of one of the largest fisheries in the country.

Menhaden are fished to provide fish oil, feed for aquaculture operations and bait. The fish also are a key source of food for larger fish, whales and dolphins.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware officials are hosting an Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission public hearing on proposed changes to the interstate management plan for Atlantic Menhaden.

Wednesday evening's hearing in Dover involves a proposal to allow two licensed commercial fishermen to harvest up to 12,000 pounds of menhaden bycatch when working from the same vessel and fishing with stationary, multi-species gear, limited to one vessel trip per day.

Currently, the bycatch limit is 6,000 pounds per vessel per day.

SILVER BEACH, Va. (AP) - Cleanup crews have begun picking up thousands of dead or dying menhaden fish that washed up on a Chesapeake Bay beach in Virginia.

Local news outlets report that the fish spilled after a fishing net on a bait boat ripped open Tuesday morning off Silver Beach.

James Kellum, the fishing boat's owner, says the tear in the net was an accident. He says about 2,000 bushels of fish have washed up on the bay.

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - Tens of thousands of dead fish have washed up on Virginia's Eastern Shore after a net recently tore during menhaden harvesting.

Media outlets report that Omega Protein alerted the Virginia Marine Resources Commission of the tear on Oct. 7. The fish began washing ashore over the weekend. The company estimates it lost about 75,000 fish.

Commission spokeswoman Laurie Naismith says Omega mobilized a cleanup crew, which worked to clean up the dead fish at the company's cost.

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The Maryland Department of Natural Resources says the Menhaden season is over.

The announcement came earlier this week with the agency saying that the quota has been met.

Harry Phillips with Russell Hall Seaford told WBOC that he was concerned that there weren’t any specific numbers from DNR.

The state officials say that they have two reporting systems -- electronic and a monthly log.

But since not all of the watermen have the immediate electronic system of reporting the agency believes that the August monthly log will show the quota has been met.

Watermen and farmers have filed a lawsuit against the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to over turn new regulations that reduce the Menhaden quota.

Captain Robert Newberry, a spokesman for the group, told WBOC that he believes the Chesapeake Bay should not be regulated like the Atlantic Ocean.

The cut in the quota is the result of the state seeking federal grant money.

Meanwhile, the Maryland Attorney General issued a statement last yesterday saying that the new rules are lawful.

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.


A fish killed has left 75-hundred menhaden in the Broadkill River dead.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control said another 10 Striped Bass and 8 Carp also died.

DNREC suspects low oxygen levels in the river due to heavy rain. 

WBOC TV reports that some fisherman in Sussex County said they were worried about their health.

But state officials said there should be no concern yet. 

DNREC is testing the water testing.  


       LEWES, Del. (AP) - A regional fisheries oversight body is proposing changes to the interstate fishery management plan for Atlantic menhaden.

     A hearing was planned Wednesday night at the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control field office in Lewes on the proposal by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

     Officials say the revision is needed because a panel found in 2010 that menhaden population abundance had declined steadily and recruitment had been low since the last peak observed in the early 1980s.