Menhaden Bills Await Your Action Contact Virginia Legislators Now

MenhadenAtlantic Menhaden – Critical to coastal food chain

Five bills concerning menhaden are before the Virginia General Assembly. The bills are summarized below. You will no doubt want to contact members of the two committees (listed below), which will hear these bills, and express your desired action.

E-mails and letters are equally acceptable. You can also call and speak with the legislators’ assistants (listed with each senator or delegate below). By copying and pasting your e-mail message, the time required to contact all committee legislators can be minimized.

In addition to contacting the individual members of the two “Ag” committees, you should also contact your own delegate and senator (To identify them, click HERE).

See menhaden background info at bottom

SB765/HB2280 – Sen. Northam and Del. Cosgrove
Would transfer the authority to implement ASMFC menhaden fishery management plans from the General Assembly to the VMRC. The VMRC already executes ASMFC directives for all other saltwater species.

HB1656 – Del. Purkey
Would prohibit harvesting of menhaden with purse nets within one mile of shore of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Newport News, and Hampton.

HB2369 – Del Knight
Would reduce current cap on menhaden harvest in Chesapeake Bay (109,020 metric tons) by 20% each year starting January, 2012.

HB1913 – Del. Miller
Would prohibit the harvest of menhaden by purse nets in the Rappahannock River and its tributaries.

HB2165 – Del. Abbitt
Would assess a fee of $10 per ton on menhaden harvested by purse seine in Virginia waters. Funds would be used to evaluate the menhaden fishery in the Chesapeake Bay.

Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources

Patricia S. Ticer, Alex/Arling/Fairfax (804) 698-7530,, Peggy Papp
Mary Margaret Whipple, Fall Ch/Arlin, (804) 698-7531,, Arlene Spinelli
Emmett W. Hanger, Jr., Lexing/Staunton (804) 698-7524,, Holly Herman
John C. Watkins, Powhatan/Cumberland (804) 698-7510,, Sally Antonelli
W. Roscoe Reynolds, Martinsville/Floyd (804) 698-7520,, Anne Lackey
Phillip P. Puckett, Tazewell/Bland (804) 698-7538,, David T. Larimer, II
Frank M. Ruff, Jr., Appomat/Halifax (804) 698-7515,, Robbie McMillan
Harry B. Blevins, Chesapeake/ Va Bch (804) 698-7514,, Karen Cochrane
Mark D. Obenshain, Harrisonburg/Page (804) 698-7526,, Jared Walczak
Ryan T. McDougle, Hanover/Middlesex (804) 698-7504,, Anne Creasy
Donald McEachin, Henrico/Rcmd/ChCity (804) 698-7509,, Sonya Bowman
J. Chapman Petersen, Fairfax, (804) 698-7534, Kathy Neilson
Ralph S. Northam, Norfolk/Mathews (804) 698-7506,, Matthew Strickler
Richard Stuart, Northumberland/Stafford, (804) 698-7528, Trisha Lewis

Mailing address for all senators is
P. O. Box 406, Richmond, VA  23218

House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources

Harvey B. Morgan, Glouces/Mathews, (804) 698-1098, Linda Harding
M. Kirkland Cox, Colon Heights/Chester, (804) 698-1066, Bill Flanagan
Beverly J. Sherwood, Winchester, (804) 698-1029, Cheryl Swartz
R. Lee Ware, Jr., Powhatan, (804) 698-1065, David Bovenizer
Thomas Wright, Jr., Amelia/Mecklen, (804) 698-1061, Nancy L. Snead
Robert Orrock, Sr., Caroline/Spotsyl, (804) 698-1054, Renee Hudson
Edward Scott, Culpeper/Madison, (804) 698-1030, Lisa C. Scott
Danny Marshall, III, Danville, (804) 698-1014, Mary K. Franklin
Charles Poindexter, Floyd/Franklin, (804) 698-1009, Lindsay Poteat
Brenda Pogge, York/N. News, (804) 698-1096, Debra L. Belcher
Barry Knight, Va Bch/Chesapeake, (804) 698-1081, Sandra Richards
Richard Bell, Staunton/Highland, (804) 698-1020, Savanna Rutherford
James Edmunds II, Halifax/Charlotte, (804) 698-1060, Shelia Bradley
Tony Wilt, Harrisonburg/Rockingham, (804) 698-1026, Joel Hensley
Kenneth Plum, Reston/Fairfax, (804) 698-1036, Barbara Shearer,
James Shuler, Allegheny/Bath/Craig, (804) 698-1012, Jane Waddell
Lynwood Lewis, Accomack/Northamp, (804) 698-1000,  Jessica Bowman
David Bulova, Fairfax City.Fairfax, (804) 698-1037, Rama Van Pelt
Mark Sickles, Fairfax, (804) 698-1043, Trent Armitage
David Englin, Alex/Fairfax/Arling, (804) 698-1098, John Alex Golden
Matthew James, Portsmouth, (804) 698-1080, Brandon Borne
Luke E. Torian, Prince William, (804) 698-1052, Phil Newell

Mailing address for all delegates is
P. O. Box 406, Richmond, VA  23218

Background Information
The Atlantic menhaden is an important coastal forage fish providing sustenance for fish, bird, and marine mammals. The economically and recreationally important striped bass (rockfish) is one of the primary predators depending on a healthy menhaden population. Per the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s (ASMFC) latest assessment, the coastal menhaden population has declined an alarming 88% in the last 25 years to a historic low. Anecdotal evidence corroborates the ASMFC’s assessment of a severely diminished menhaden presence.

The Chesapeake Bay is a nursery for at least half of all coastal menhaden. In addition to a depleted total menhaden population, the ASMFC notes a diminished spawning capability. The spawning capability of the current coastal population is less than 10% of that of an un-fished (virgin) population.

The ASMFC is currently involved in re-assessing the reference points by which the viability of the coastal stock is measured. The intent is to restore the menhaden population to sustainable levels, and assure that the needs of coastal predators are met.

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1 Response to Menhaden Bills Await Your Action Contact Virginia Legislators Now

  1. Jerry Jarombek says:

    I emailed the following letter to all addresses. The email was rejected at district4, district6, district9
    Dear Legislator,
    A substantial menhaden population is a prerequisite for sustaining a vibrant marine ecosystem. This is true for our local waters and for the entire East coast.
    Legislation to limit the commercial catch of menhaden in federal waters and Chesapeake Bay will benefit everyone.
    Menhaden, “a fish that was born to be eaten”, provides essential nutrient to predatory fish, sea birds and shellfish. In addition, they are filter-feeders capable of keeping algae growth under control.
    Here on Long Island Sound, where we have an almost limitless supply of algae, the potential for menhaden abundance and benefits is extraordinary.
    But we need your help. Please, legislators, use your common sense and good conscience to vote for the greater good and place limits on the commercial catch of our precious menhaden.
    Thank you,
    Jerry Jarombek
    Riverside, CT

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