Omega Protein Corporation has announced that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) has increased the annual harvest quota by 6.45 percent for the Atlantic menhaden fish meal/oil fisheries and bait fisheries. The decision to increase the quota is based on the continued strength of the Atlantic menhaden stock as it expands in its range up and down the Atlantic coastline. The new harvest quota will take effect for the 2017 Atlantic menhaden fishing season.
\"Omega Protein has responsibly harvested menhaden from these Atlantic waters for more than a century and no one has more at stake in a healthy, sustainable menhaden resource than we do. We were pleased by the ASMFC\'s judgment to increase the menhaden quota by 6.45 percent,\" said Bret D. Scholtes, Chief Executive Officer of Omega Protein. \"A growing number of observed sightings of very large menhaden schools have validated the strong findings of the ASMFC\'s most recent assessment. This illustrates to us that there should be no doubt that the stock is robust and healthy enough for increased harvest.\"
The increase brings the total annual amount of Atlantic menhaden that can be landed by Omega Protein and independent bait fisherman to 200,000 metric tons. It is also expected Virginia will maintain its 85 percent share of the coastwide allocation for its fish meal/oil fisheries and bait fisheries for the 2017 season. If Virginia maintains its current allocation split between fish meal/oil fisheries and bait fisheries, then the Company believes that in 2017 the Company\'s Atlantic fish catch limit will be approximately 152,000 metric tons.
\"Scientific analysis indicates that the ASMFC could have raised harvest levels beyond the 6.45 percent increase with no risk of overfishing. However, we understand the Commission\'s desire to take measured steps to insure the stock\'s continued health,\" Mr. Scholtes said. \"Omega Protein remains committed to participating in future management actions, and is hopeful that the ASMFC will continue to derive its resource decisions based upon the best available science.\"
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