Menhaden fisheries; extends sunset provision for harvest. (HB142)

Introduced By

Del. Albert Pollard (D-Lively)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Menhaden harvest cap.  Continues the annual menhaden harvest quota of 109,020 metric tons for the Virginia portion of the Chesapeake Bay until January 1, 2014, three years beyond the original sunset date. Fisheries receive a credit to be applied in the following year if the actual harvest does not meet the harvest quota and a deduction if the actual harvest exceeds the harvest quota. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/05/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10101079D
01/05/2010Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
01/20/2010Assigned ACNRsub: #3 Chesapeake
01/28/2010Subcommittee recommends reporting (8-Y 0-N)
02/03/2010Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2010Read first time
02/08/2010Read second time and engrossed
02/09/2010Read third time and passed House (77-Y 22-N)
02/09/2010VOTE: --- PASSAGE (77-Y 22-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB142)
02/10/2010Constitutional reading dispensed
02/10/2010Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
02/22/2010Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2010Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/24/2010Read third time
02/24/2010Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2010Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB142ER)
03/02/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB142ER)
03/02/2010Signed by Speaker
03/03/2010Signed by President
03/29/2010G Approved by Governor-Chapter 178 (effective 7/1/10)
03/29/2010G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0178)


Waldo Jaquith writes:

I highly recommend reading this article about Menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake Bay to learn about this issue. It seems like it'd be boring, but it's actually a really big deal. Menhaden are a fantastically important fish, a sort of a lynchpin for the Atlantic fish population. Every fish that you and I eat survives on menhaden—the more menhaden that we catch, the less eatin' fish that remain. More important than that, menhaden are filtering fish. They inhale all that nasty algae in the ocean (an adult filters 4-6 gallons per minute) and consume it, cleaning the water; no menhaden means nasty water.

There are hardly any menhaden left, comparatively speaking. One company, the Houston-based Omega Protein, catches 90% of them, turning them into lipstick, fish oil supplements, paint, and salad dressing. They're hugely overfished. Which means that all of the other fish that survive by eating menhaden are disappearing, and fast. Virginia is one of two states along the whole of the Atlantic that still allows Menhaden fishing. Which is a damned shame, because the Chesapeake Bay is the menhaden nursery. That's where they hatch their young. Those young could grow up, clean out water, and fatten up our bass and tuna. But instead this Texas company is getting rich by scooping them up and making lipstick from them. It's dumb.

So this turns out to be a pretty important bill.

M Quinlan writes:

The extension of the limits is bunk. Omega hasn't even been able to catch the limit since the early eighty's due to over fishing. This is the only species of fish not controlled by the scientists of Virginia Marine Fisheries.