An adult menhaden can filter up to four gallons of water in a minute! These fish keep the ocean water clean and clear. The Atlantic menhaden also happens to be an extremely important food source for many other aquatic animals. Therefore, the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem stability is directly linked to the menhaden. We need Virginia to implement the proper protections offered by House Bill 1610. Help us support the most important fish in the sea!

In November 2017, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) approved changes to the coast-wide fishery management plan for the Atlantic menhaden population. These changes:

· Adjust the Virginia menhaden catch limit to 168,213.16 metric tons.

· Maintain a quota transfer program that will allow Virginia access to uncaught quota from other states.

· Maintain provisions that will allow operational certainty for Virginia’s small-scale bait fisheries.

· Update the Chesapeake Bay Reduction Fishery Harvest Cap to the average catch of the last five years, an amount of approximately 51,000 metric tons.

· Prohibit quota rollovers that allow unfilled yearly quotas to be caught the following year, potentially inflating the catch.

What Needs to Be Done NOW
It is critical that Virginia legislators ensure the health of the menhaden population, the Bay ecosystem, and provide certainty for Virginia’s economy by supporting Delegate Knight’s House Bill 1610, which implements the ASMFC’s menhaden coast-wide management plan. Failure to adopt this legislation, necessary to conform with the management plan, could lead to serious sanctions, including a shut-down of all menhaden fisheries in the Commonwealth, threatening the livelihoods of thousands of hardworking Virginians.

HB1610 goes before the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, February 28th. Tell your representatives you support this bill!

You can also sign up for our Action Network so you can stay engaged on this and other important issues related to the river.