Regulators say Virginia firm caught more menhaden in Bay than allowed. Feds will decide what happens.
A panel of fisheries regulators took a first step Monday that could lead to a freeze on catching menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay.
The menhaden panel of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission unanimously found Virginia was out of compliance with the sharply lower cap on the Bay catch the commission set two years ago.
The finding next goes to the the full commission’s policy board later this week.
The issue was the catch that Reedville-based Omega Protein harvested, several panel members said. Omega spokesman Ben Landry said the company went over the Bay cap when dangerous weather out at sea made fishing outside the Bay dangerous in August and September while large schools of menhaden were just inside the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. But even with this year’s excess, the company’s average over the past decade has been below the 51,000-metric-ton Bay cap the commission set in 2017, he said.