Freeze on menhaden harvest

needed for health of bay

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I admire the courage of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for requesting a federal freeze on the harvesting of menhaden. The Omega Protein Corp. has been overharvesting the menhaden against the recommendations of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. But this is not just a Virginia fisheries issue; it also involves the health of the entire Chesapeake Bay.

Another significant question is whether commercial menhaden harvesting should be permitted at all. One of the products — fish oil — has little to no medical benefits.

Why are we allowing the harvesting of more than 50,000 metric tons of these ecologically valuable fish? The only real financial beneficiary is Omega Protein's Canadian owner.

What would happen if 60,000 metric tons of menhaden could be free to swim back up into all the waters of the Chesapeake Bay? When will we value the health of the bay over corporate profits?

Joseph Friend.

Arnold, Md.

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