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Governor Declares VA's Menhaden Harvest Level

Last month fisheries managers from Florida to Maine voted for a ten percent increase in commercial harvests of menhaden.

The oily fish is loved by bald eagles, osprey and other fish and is used along the Atlantic as bait to catch tastier fare like lobster and crab. At a rainy ceremony today, Governor Terry McAuliffe threw his support behind Omega Protein, the last fish rendering plant on the East Coast.

Omega Protein employs about 300 people to turn menhaden into food for aquaculture, livestock and vitamin supplements for people. It's a major employer in the Northern Neck of Virginia, a rural area along the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.

“As a result of the proclamation I am about to sign, Omega has added an eighth vessel in the fleet and has added almost two dozen new jobs. And that's why I'm here today. An additional $7-8 million in annual revenues will now flow through this plant which has been in operation for more than 100 years.”

The switched hats in the middle of the ceremony to acknowledge his new role as lead of six states and the District of Columbia in restoration and conservation efforts through the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement.

“We know menhaden play an important part in the bay's ecosystem for food for our striped bass our osprey as well as our eagles. We understand the importance of the bay and it's such a thriving part of our economy.”

Gov. McAuliffe is slated to meet with other governors about the bay later this summer .

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