mebe007

Menhedan reduction and fishery rebound in areas it's ceased

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Ok guys, I've been gone for a while. *

I'm copying  this post I made on another forum as I would like to get all the input I can from surrounding areas and area where reduction fishing was once allowed. I ask to keep everything in one area for the benefit of our fishery if everyone could please reply in that thread specifically for all to read. I will copy the link below for replies and thank everyone for any support and insight that can be given.

Post reads as follows: 

Ok guys so we all know about or should at least know about omega protien. The big blue raper of the bay (mid to southern chesapeake). Perhaps not all see them as that. It seems to be quite the discussion down here in Virginia and is one of the few topics over on tidal fish that most agree on.

That said, many have recently been discussing the fact that money talks and recs don't show up enough in support of ourselves at public hearings. Others state that without money on our end no one will listen anyways. 

Many know what the southern fishery once was and now it's great decline over the years. No forage fish = no predatory fish. To further this statement we look to Maryland. One simply has to look at the 2017 reports you guys post and the size and amount of decent to good size eating rockfish you guys post about. Omega isn't allowed that far north if I'm correct so the forage is there a long with the predators.

So the intentions of this post are simple. Anywhere that omega used to fish and no longer can, please speak up. Make it public about how the fishery has rebounded. Help us in the southern bay. We are still all in the same bay, the nation's largest marine estuary.

We need all the support we can. It seems like the Chesapeake bay foundation, Virginia institute of marine science, Virginia marine resources commission. And even our (sarcasm)  lovely govener all have a hand in omega proteins pocket.

So any experts (professional) out there, general opinions of recreational fishermen etc. Please speak up and help fight the fight.

This topic isn't started as a fight amongst ourselves but one to benefit us all.


Now from myself it's simply sickening to see spotter planes find our few remaining schools of menhedan only for the boats to come scoop them all up. At a minimum outlaw the spotter planes. 

Our trophy rockfish  season came and went. It seems as if all the big girls bypassed us all together while Maryland. And New Jersey still did well. How can we continue to allow the Amfsc (spelling?) Continue to do stock assessments of the entire east coast yet omega is allowed to pull their tonnage out of the Chesapeake bay and inshore waters alone. It is absolutely nuts. 

Our cobia used to be caught with stomachs full of menhedan, this year all fish whether caught deep of shallow were all full of msnyis shrimp. Sure they ate finding food , but what happens when that's depleted. 

We must do everything we can for this nursery to survive. 

Additionally you would think ducks unlimited would be interested as well as waterfowlers in general. This area was once the sportsman paradise yet waterfowl number are longer what they once were in this state. Losses of aquatic vegetation is part of the reason. It's all one connected ecosystem, from predators to prey. Menhedan are forage fish which also filter the water. Their loss can most likely be aligned with shellfish population and further tied to vegetation in the bay. This granted is my opinion but someone without a hand in omega proteins pocket must know the facts and wish to speak the truth.

Sorry for the long winded post but this is something that must be talked about before its all gone.

Edited by TimS
We don't discuss or promote other site here - I removed the link and the other site discussion. If you'd like to discuss this topic, you are welcome to discuss it right here, but please do not direct people to other sites to respond - thanks.

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Funny you should post this.  I was fishing a few miles off the Delaware coast yesterday and there they were.  Spotter flying around then starts circling, "Mothership" launches 1 then a second boat to pull the seine, after a short period the plane flies off "job well done". 

Not sure taking the spotter away improves the situation.  Ammended harvest allocations based on sound science is the direction I would like to see the fishery and Feds take.  Omega spends big bucks, as other companies do, to line pockets of lobbyists.  

 

 

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Thanks for your response. Our problem locally is they are doing the same within the confines of the Chesapeake bay. The largest marine estuary in the country is the largest nursery and w ith this method takes away the forage for growing and breeding fish. Its just hard to get people to stand up. Without support things fall on deaf ears 

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I live 5 minutes from the Susky and have a place on the ESVA.  I am well aware of the local impacts.  In the regional sub forums, we post the local meetings as well as the ASMFC meetings in the MD area. When the Menhaden meetings were in Baltimore, and I others were there. I agree that a cohesive effort is needed to protect the species and prevent the possibility of a population collapse.

Took me a minute to find this but it gives a little back story for those interested. Sudsy posted this a few years back:

 

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Thank you for the article. It really sucks out my state is the battle ground zero. The last hold out. We all know menhedan are migratory as well as many other fish we all enjoy catching. We all know the Chesapeake bay is one of the main nurseries as the largest marine estuary in the country and I find it crazy we cannot get more support in fighting this war. 

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It would be nice to see the menhedan protected better with higher limits. Would it be possible to get the company to relocate to the Mississippi river and target exclusively silver carp and bighead carp as a substitute for menhedan?

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Maybe the large schools of small blue catfish will continue to adapt to the salinity of the Chesapeake in the mean time and become a staple replacement forage fish for stripers.

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Omega is the enemy and shouldn't be treated as anything but the mortal enemy to Chesapeake Bay. They have bought and own the Virginia general assembly - which, oddly enough, manages the menhaden stocks in Virginia. EVERY other stock in Virginia is managed by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission - except menhaden...they are managed by the politicians in Virginia because politicians can be purchased. Omega protein used their money to get legislation passed to remove control of the menhaden management from the scientists/biologist and hand it directly to the politicians.

They did this because they know they can control the politicians - they have been purchasing political favor for decades in Virginia. Nothing is going to change in Virginia until the management of menhaden is put back into the hands of people who are qualified to manage a fishery...and not in the hands of politicians who only care about who's going to give them more money, political clout and favors. Virginia is the absolute root of this problem - menhaden management must be taken away from the politicians and turned back over to the fisheries managers in the VMRC

There was a time when the ASMFC appeared poised to do something about it by reducing the menhaden quota...they failed miserably, capping the quota at numbers higher than Omega had been harvesting rather than reducing the harvest. And they continue to fail to do anything to reduce the quota more than Omega is doing themselves by wiping out the menhaden. While small groups of fishermen are understanding the seriousness of the damage Omega does in the Chesapeake, there hasn't been any organization that has been able to get Virginia to consider taking menhaden management away from the politicians and giving it back to the fisheries managers where it belongs. That's the first step in my opinion.

TimS

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We see the effects of a bigger bunker population in NY.  Whales, dolphins, sharks right up to the beach.  Virginia needs to ban Omega Protein 100 years ago!  Those bunker that get past Omega are the same ones we fish off up here.  Any bunker on the eastern seaboard is vulnerable to Omega spotter plane and pursing them as they migrate past Virginia in the bay.  The fishing in the lower Chesepeake is a shell of itself 30 years ago.

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The next Governors election in VA may (note I said may) bring us a change. The last several governors have all allowed Omega to pick up the tab for the Governors inaugural ball. And yes, Omega donates to every member on every committee in the Genrl Assembly that has anything to do with menhaden regulation.  Every bill that has been introduced in VA Genrl Assembly that would restrict Omega in some way has failed to make it out of committee.  Ralph Northam, the current democratic candidate, has been one of the few members in the VA Genrl Assembly to take on Omega over the years.  I will be supporting his campaign. 

Most organizations that choose to take on Omega are 501C3 (charitable) for tax purposes and are prohibited from making political contributions. This is one of the main reasons no one has had the clout to change the regulations in VA.  Additionally, that is why all recent efforts have been focused at the federal level on ASMFC, vs. VA. One of the major provisions contained in Amendment 3 for the Menhaden fishery is potentially reducing the cap on the reduction fishery in the Chesapeake Bay.  Most organizations support cutting the bay cap in half since Omega's landings for the last 5 years have been below that level.  The final draft of Amendment 3 will be released for comment in the next couple of weeks.  Anglers need to let their state representatives to ASMFC know how they feel.  The Virginia Saltwater Sportfishing Assn and the VA Menhaden Alliance will both be publishing their positions on each of the provisions of Amendment 3 as well as suggested talking points for the public.

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The problem is the ASMFC is also ruled by politics/money rather than science these days. What I don't understand is how Virginia, who has proven that they will allow Omega to take as many menhaden as they can find year after year, would be entrusted with 85% of the entire east coast's quota?

menhaden-2017-quota.png

Virginia refuses to do anything about Omega stripping hundreds of millions of pounds of menhaden from the lower Chesapeake year after year because Omega keeps menhaden management out of the hands of the fisheries management in VA and in the legislature. At some point the remaining 14 states in the ASMFC need to sidestep Omega's bought and paid for legislators in VA and find ways to more equitably distribute the 440 million pounds of menhaden quota...even if some states would choose NOT to harvest their quota.

Also, something else kinda odd - Virginia's ASMFC seats - they are the only state who has two of the three seats with the same person as their "ongoing proxy" -  Kyle Schick. He is apparently the ongoing proxy for TWO of Virginia's ASMFC appointees - now maybe this might seem like no big deal...but that gives Kyle's absolute power over Virginia's ASMFC vote - he is proxy for two of the three people. I sincerely hope this is just a misprint on the ASMFC Commissioners webpage  Here's a screenshot - this is public information, available at the link posted otherwise I'd never post personal information here:

Screenshot (1271).png

 

Doesn't giving one person the ability to cast two votes defeat the entire purpose of having three commissioners from each state? Not to mention, a quick Google of the person who apparently gets to make all the VA ASMFC decisions says " Kyle enjoys local Gill Netting and Rockfishing" :squid:

Again, I hope that's a mistake on the AMFC's website...can't imagine how anyone can take the ASMFC seriously if they allow one person to represent 2/3 of a state's commissioners.

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Fortunately they get a lot less pressure in the western LI sound in NY. Their numbers there seem to be slightly dropping but the huge 'walk on em' schools this season are still impressive. Where the bluefish have backed off on them the humpbacks have made up the difference.                    Lose the foundation and the house falls!

 

 

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