Omega Protein supports cap on Chesapeake Bay menhaden harvests
Largest US fishmeal and oil manufacturer supports Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine's proposal for a temporary five- year cap on menhaden caught for industrial purposes in the Chesapeake Bay
Omega Protein Corporation, the largest US fishmeal and oil manufacturer announced today that it has agreed to support Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine's proposal for a temporary five- year cap on menhaden caught for industrial purposes in the Chesapeake Bay.
The Governor's proposal would cap the Company's Chesapeake Bay menhaden harvest at its most recent five-year average (2001 to 2005) of 109,020 metric tons per year. The Governor's proposal would also allow for a credit whereby any under-harvest in a particular year below the 109,020 metric ton cap would be added to increase the cap for the following year, up to a maximum of 122,740 metric tons per year.
The Company views the Governor's proposal as a substantial improvement compared to the original recommendation in August 2005 by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission ("ASMFC"), which had proposed a cap of approximately 106,000 metric tons and provided no credit for under-harvests. The Company has agreed to support Governor Kaine's proposal in an effort to move forward constructively and avoid further contention on this issue.
The company said itbelieves that the Governor's proposal should not have any material adverse effect on its operations. The proposed cap would not apply to the company's fishing operations in Virginia outside the Chesapeake Bay or in any federal waters (waters beyond three miles from shore). The Company's Gulf of
Mexico operations would also remain unrestricted by this proposal.
"The Company is very pleased that the Governor's proposal addresses certain important practical concerns that the Company had with the original ASMFC recommendation," said Joe von Rosenberg, Omega Protein President and CEO. "The Company and the Commonwealth clearly share the mutual goal of ensuring both the sustainability of the vital health-giving menhaden resource and hundreds of jobs in the Northern Neck of Virginia."
The Company understands that the Commonwealth will now work with other coastal states to encourage ratification of this new accord by the ASMFC. The ASMFC is an inter-state compact formed by 15 Atlantic coastal states which assists in managing and conserving shared coastal resources.