The public has three weeks to officially comment on each of two petitions in Virginia to protect Chesapeake Bay health from menhaden reduction fishing, and safeguard the striped bass, red drum, and other fish and wildlife that depend on this critical forage fish.
The industrial menhaden fishery currently uses purse seine nets that extend deeper than actual bottom depths in the Bay. The nets disturb seagrass habitats while preventing the escape of gamefish that feed on menhaden, such as striped bass and redfish, and other bottom-dwelling species like flounder and blue crabs. The fish are sucked into the mothership while the resultant nutrient-laden, oxygen-deprived, contaminated water is discharged overboard.
Two separate petitions have been filed to put a stop to these practices: Petition 392, asking the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to prevent purse seine fishing for menhaden in waters shallower than the depth of the net itself, and Petition 394, seeking to have the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality amend regulations to recognize the wastewater discharge from menhaden fishing vessels as a pollutant. Both petitions would help limit industrial menhaden fishing in the Bay. Starting on July 31 and August 14 respectively, both petitions will undergo 21-day open comment periods in which you can offer comments of your support.
To protect Virginia’s nearshore habitat and sportfish populations, TRCP is gathering and submitting comments from those in support of these petitions. To make your voice heard, fill out the information below. We will submit your information within the open comment periods along with the comments below.
NOTE: By entering your information here, you allow TRCP to include your name, associated with the comments below, on lists to be submitted to each of the two state agencies named above. We also encourage you to alternately submit personalized comments for these petitions by commenting on the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall open forum from 7/31 – 8/21 for Petition 392 and from 8/14 – 9/4 for Petition 394. Comments submitted here after 8/20 will only be submitted for Petition 394.
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