Hughes praises US Secretary on Chesapeake Bay stance
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The President of the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) has praised the US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, for his actions in supporting striped bass in Chesapeake Bay.
Secretary Ross cracked down on overfishing in the Bay, finding the state of Virginia out of compliance after Omega Protein, a food ingredient supplier, willfully violated the fishing cap on menhaden – a key food source for striped bass.
“The decision of Secretary Ross to hold Omega Protein accountable for its actions demonstrates clear conservation leadership along the Atlantic Coast,” said ASA President, Glenn Hughes.
“His decision comes at a critical time because menhaden’s top predator, the Atlantic striped bass, is currently in poor condition and the Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery area for the species.”
Since October, tens of thousands of recreational anglers, dozens of businesses and organisations, and nine Governors along the east coast, have all requested that the Secretary take action on this issue.
According to a recent scientific study, menhaden fishing has contributed to a near 30% decline in striped bass numbers. The striped bass fishing industry contributes $7.8 billion in GDP to the economy along the Atlantic coast.The Virginia General Assembly, which meets in early 2020, must now decide whether to transfer management of menhaden to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission or face a moratorium on fishing for Atlantic menhaden.