On January 29, the Virginia House of Delegates Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on HB 1448, Menhaden; Management of the Fishery, which would transfer management authority for the fishery from Virginia’s General Assembly, to the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC). All other marine fisheries in the state are managed by VMRC. MRAA is highly engaged in supporting this bill, and bringing Virginia into compliance with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Interstate Management Plan. Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross has threatened to place a temporary ban on the Chesapeake Bay’s menhaden fishery if the commonwealth does not comply with federal quotas by June 17, 2020.
MRAA Board member Jason Murphy from Norfolk Marine testified before the Committee in support of this important legislation. “Menhaden play a critical role in the ecosystem, supporting striped bass, bluefish, weakfish, and many other highly sought-after recreational fish stocks, worth tens of billions of dollars along the Atlantic coast,” said Murphy. “Passage of HB1448 will help support thousands of jobs in the recreational boating industry, and allow fishermen and anglers along the Atlantic coast to participate in this major economic driver for years to come.”
The committee voted in favor of HB 1448, 13-7. It now will go to the General Assembly for approval.
If you have questions, please contact MRAA Government Relations Manager, Adam Fortier-Brown.