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RFA members will in the near future recieve the following in the mail. I hope all recreational anglers will send in a letter or email.

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It is time again to speak out to protect menhaden (bunker, pogies).

The Atlantic States Marine Fishery Commission (ASMFC) is currently holding hearings and accepting public comment on Addendum II to the management plan for Atlantic Menhaden.

Since 1996, RFA has been leading the charge to protect menhaden. Many of our efforts have been successful, such as the prohibition on taking menhaden for the purpose of reduction in state waters in New Jersey and Long Island Sound. Under pressure from RFA, the ASMFC Menhaden Management Board was completely reorganized and the membership of the advisory panel was expanded to include representatives of the recreational fishing community. Several RFA members served on this advisory panel and did a great job of furthering our agenda of seeing that menhaden?s role as filter feeders and as forage for striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish be taken into account in the management plan.

While much has been accomplished, we still face significant challenges. Every year, the reduction fleet operated by Omega Protein continues to take hundreds of millions of pounds of menhaden from the Chesapeake Bay. RFA believes there is serious local area depletion of menhaden in the Maryland and Virginia portions of the Chesapeake. Recruitment to age 1 (in other words the number of fish that survive to 1 year of age) menhaden has been, for several years, at an all time low. The observed poor health of predator stocks such as striped bass has been linked to inadequate nutrition. Without the filtration capability of large schools of menhaden, water quality continues to remain poor.

It was long hoped that Omega Protein would at last become somewhat cooperative and open-minded to improving the management of menhaden. However, Omega Protein is refusing to participate in any research initiatives that they do not control, are denying to support research through use of their vessels and other assets, and threats to bring litigation against ASMFC at the first sign of any new regulation has destroyed any hopes that they could be reasonable in seeking both long and short term solutions. It is obvious that the current hard-line position of Omega Protein is here to stay.

The ASMFC is considering several options that will cap Omega?s landings in the Chesapeake.

We do not believe this is good enough. It is the recommendation of the RFA that the ASMFC immediately develop regulations prohibiting the purse seining of menhaden for the purpose of reduction in the waters of all Atlantic Coast States. These regulations should remain in place until such time as science and research can sort out the very troubling aspects surrounding this fishery.

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Mail: Nancy Wallace
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1444 ?Eye? Street, Northwest
Washington, D.C. 20005

EMAIL
[email protected]

Dear Ms. Wallace:
As a member of the Recreational Fishing Alliance <Concerned angler>, I am very concerned about the large volume of menhaden being caught by the reduction fleet operated by Omega Protein in the Chesapeake Bay.

In fact, I believe we are at the crisis point in the Chesapeake as a result of the volume of menhaden being taken by the Omega Protein reduction fleet. There appears to be a serious local area depletion of menhaden in the Maryland and Virginia portions of the Chesapeake, recruitment continues to be at an all time low, and the observed poor health of predator stocks such as striped bass has been linked to inadequate nutrition. Additionally, without the filtration capability of large schools of menhaden, water quality continues to remain poor.

Therefore I respectfully urge the ASMFC Menhaden Management Board to develop regulations prohibiting the purse seining of menhaden for the purpose of reduction in the waters of all Atlantic Coast States. These regulations should remain in place until such time as science and research can sort out the very troubling aspects surrounding this fishery.

Forage fish stocks must be maintained to have healthy stocks of recreationally and commercially important predators and to improve the water quality of the Chesapeake.

Thank you for your consideration.

[ 06-28-2005, 10:07 AM: Message edited by: NIGHTSTRIKES ]
 

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I copied the letter and will send it today. Does anyone have a fax number for the ASMFC so I can fax it to them?

We often do not agree on certain issues but this is one issue we all should unite together and send out the letters. This is vital for the future of our fishery. It only takes a few minutes to send a letter. We can make a difference.
 

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Originally posted by Captblock:
I copied the letter and will send it today. Does anyone have a fax number for the ASMFC so I can fax it to them?

For detailed contact information on Commission staff, ASMFC Commissioners, and species management boards and other committees, go to the drop down menu (upper right)



Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission
1444 Eye Street, NW
Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202/289-6400
FAX: 202/289-6051
 

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Tx for info and sample letter. Fax sent a few minutes ago.
 

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BUMP !!!!
 
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