Virginia Regulatory Town Hall
Marine Resources Commission
Marine Resources Commission
[4 VAC 20 ‑ ]


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7/31/23  10:35 am
Commenter: Andy Cortez

Support of purse seine width restrictions

The adverse effects of commercial fishing gear dragging the sea floor are well documented and understood.  Virginia, for example does not allow bottom trawlers inside state waters.  Purse seines, when used correctly, do not impact the seabed.    Worldwide, purse seines are typically used in deep water for pelagic species.  

Virginia allows purse seining for menhaden inside the Chesapeake Bay.  The average depth of the bay is only 21 feet.  The depth (width) of the purse seines are 60 feet.  The nets are weighted at the bottom and frequently touch state-owned bottomlands disturbing marine organisms, shellfish and their habitat.  In addition, weighted nets stir up sediments that can reduce sunlight penetration, change water chemistry and release carbon stored in the mud, which can contribute to global warming.  Considering that there are 10 large menhaden steamers operating in the bay, averaging 100 trips per year, the damage to the benthic environment is chronic and significant.  

I urge the VMRC to enact appropriate purse seine gear restrictions to protect our state bottomlands and living marine resources from unnecessary harm.

CommentID: 218182

7/31/23  11:39 am

I agree with petition on limiting net size

There are numerous reasons commercial net size should be limited in length as well depth in Virginia waters. Thousands of acres of underwater grassbeds along with untargeted marine life, destroyed unknowingly by deep seine nets dragging throughout the year while the target fish (menhaden) swim near the surface. If commercial boats have spotter planes to spot bait on the surface of the water, we can then acknowledge the top half of the water column is the main focus and target for the commercial vessels, deep seines then become unnecessary and dangerous for other marine life foraging on this bait as well in deeper depths unseen from the plane or commercial vessel. 

CommentID: 218184

7/31/23  11:48 am
Commenter: Christi Medice

I agree with the petition

I believe that the Purse Seine nets being used by the reduction fishing organizations are way to large for the Chesapeake Bay. These nets, not only are 1500 feet long, equivalent to 4 football fields long, but drop into the bay 60 foot deep or more. 

The bay has an average depth between 20-50 foot deep. The bay can not support this style of fishing. The nets are also held on the bottom with a 400-600 pound weight, used to keep the net on the bottom while the Seine Boats encircle the school of fish they are after. This is one boat with one net. Now add 8-10 ships doing the same thing. 

These nets do not discriminate on the fish that get caught and there will always be a bi catch problem. They are taking way to many fish from our waters, leaving very little for the people that live and work here. The local fishermen and Charters are starting to slow down because it is costing them more to fish and there is nothing there.


I am begging that these Industries stop fishing in the bay and take the nets into the ocean as they are intended. The Chesapeake Bay is hurting right now and the wildlife that needs the fish will start, or have already started, to die off. It is going to take years for OUR BAY to bounce back!!!

Please help us protect the largest estuary in the United States! You have the power to fix this now and we need you to HEAR US.  The Chesapeake has been around longer than these fishing giants and I would love to know that the future generations will be able to see the wildlife, fishing, crabbing and all other interesting things she offers!!

Thank you for your time and consideration in the matter! 
Christi Medice

CommentID: 218185

7/31/23  11:50 am
Commenter: Brian Collins

Purse Seine Ndtting Regulations in the Chesapeake Bay

I support the essence of the petition to ensure that the purse seine netting regulations and equipment used in the Chesapeake Bay are sustainable and not creating damage to the ecosystem, including dragging the bottom or leaving residue

thanks, Brian 


CommentID: 218186

7/31/23  11:59 am
Commenter: Richard Medice

Agree with Petition

I agree that something needs to be done to protect the bay.

CommentID: 218187

7/31/23  12:05 pm
Commenter: Tim Horner

I agree with this petition

I agree with this petition.


CommentID: 218188

7/31/23  12:06 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Support this petition

Need to restrict the locations where menhaden industrial fishing nets can be used, so they cannot damage shallow water habitats. This is just common sense and if the fishery is as sustainably minded as it claims it will design new nets and fish only in deeper waters than 65 feet.

CommentID: 218189

7/31/23  12:24 pm
Commenter: Ann DeVaul

Petition Support

Save the menhaden, save the osprey, save the bay. Purse Seine net depths should be regulated in order not to cause contact with the sea floor within Virginia waters. The current lack of regulation in regards to Omega Protein's harvesting practices is ridiculous, please act before the collapse of the food chain.

CommentID: 218190

7/31/23  12:30 pm
Commenter: Alfred Ellis


I agree with this... ITs well documented that not one positive thing occurs from allowing any net to contact the sea floor.

CommentID: 218191

7/31/23  12:35 pm
Commenter: Chris Dip

I agree with this petition

I believe the nets used in purse seine fishing in VA waters should be regulated.  I have personally witnessed grass floating after these nets have been used in the bay while fishing.  I ask that you take this petition into consideration in order to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

CommentID: 218192

7/31/23  12:43 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Menhaden Ocean Harvesters Cooke Bros

These companies are destroying our(Virginia Taxpayers) our bay. This over harvesting the Chesapeake Bay needs to stop now!!! They will not be satisfied till they net every fish in our bay.

CommentID: 218193

7/31/23  12:52 pm
Commenter: Anonymous

Agree to petition regarding regulation of purse seines in Virginia Waters

I submit agreement to regulating purse seines in Virginia waters in a way that allows them to function as intended:

1) not to drag across the bay or sea floor, in order to prevent disruption of habitat, allowing non-target animals to escape the net, and to prevent pollution from net snags

2) regulatory oversight of fishing practices, including fines for overharvesting and fish spill damage from ripped nets and illicit bycatch 

3) would like to see Omega Protein Inc and others lose the right to reduction harvest within the Chesapeake Bay watersheds and  have all industrial business practices excluded within TWO MILES of the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay 


CommentID: 218194

7/31/23  12:53 pm
Commenter: John Tyson Sr.

Purse Seine nets

Agree with this petition!  The nets are destroying the bottom of the Chesapeake Bay and Rappahannock River bottom when they are dropped in less than 50 foot of water!  When they pull the nets they are leaving fish guts and sludge in the water for our kids and gray to swim in!  

CommentID: 218195

7/31/23  12:54 pm
Commenter: Barbara Hennig-Loomis

purse seine regulation petition

Purse Seine net depths should be regulated in order not to cause contact with the sea floor within Virginia waters, particularly the Chesapeake Bay. As a resident of Virginia's Eastern Shore,located near Kiptopeke,  we have been impacted by the damage caused by Omega Protein's operations to include dead fish on our beach. As recreational fishermen, it's been impossible to ignore what the overfishing of Menhaden in the Bay has done to other fish stocks.

CommentID: 218196

7/31/23  12:55 pm
Commenter: Kennedy Daniels MD

Purse seine net petition

I support the petition to limit purse seine netting of menhaden so that the nets do not touch the bottom and cause damage.

CommentID: 218197

7/31/23  1:12 pm
Commenter: Patty Roca

I agree with this petition

I agree with this petition. 

CommentID: 218199

7/31/23  1:14 pm
Commenter: Dominick Roca

I agree with this petition

I agree with this petition.

CommentID: 218200

7/31/23  1:26 pm
Commenter: Gail Kleintop

Agree with petition

Purse Seine net depths should be regulated in order not to cause contact with the sea floor within Virginia waters

CommentID: 218201

7/31/23  1:34 pm
Commenter: Scott A Thomas

Agree with petition

Purse Seine net depths should be regulated in order not to cause contact with the sea floor within Virginia waters

I’m tired of the big blue menhaden boats with purse sein nets that are 1400’ to 1500’ in length and 50’ to 60’ in depth being placed in locations throughout Virginia’s waters that are shallow and doing the following:


1) Dragging the bottom of the seabed dragging and destroying massive amounts of seagrass (SAV) which either floats away or makes its way to the closest beach.


2)  Snagging and ripping the net causing 1000’s of menhaden and/or game fish to die and float away.


3) Being on the sea floor and not allowing other game fish to be able to swim to the bottom as per the design of the net to release game fish out the bottom before it is closed or “pursed” 


I stand with Northern Neck neighbors in Montross (Cabin Point)and am tired of it and agree with a new regulation petition which was accepted by the Virginia Town Hall petition process that was 1st submitted to the VMRC!

CommentID: 218202

7/31/23  1:46 pm
Commenter: Charlie Davidson

agree with petition

Purse siene nets need to be regulated!

CommentID: 218203

7/31/23  1:53 pm
Commenter: Steve atkinson

Menhaden Purse seine nets in the bay

I have always wondered what damage these massive nets might be doing to the shallow waters of the bay. These nets are roughly 60 feet deep and are often fished in water as shallow as 15 or 20 feet, obviously dragging across the seafloor and doing unknown damage to the benthic zone and having unintended bycatch. if this fishery had never been here and showed up tomorrow with these huge nets, would we allow them to net in the bay without first doing an environmental assessment? I think not! Our bay is a very fragile ecosystem, and it does not need further damage from these nets. 

CommentID: 218204

7/31/23  1:54 pm
Commenter: Greg Mitchell

Agree with petition to shallow up on purse scene length.

Stop trading $Green$ backs for fat backs(bunkers} and maybe begin to do what the people want and not your bank accounts!! Keep the greed out of the bay and east of the demarcation line! If you can't see fit to get that done, then shorten up the scene length while in the bay in order to reduce the negative impacts it potentially has on the bottom as well as reduce the ongoing spillage problem caused by hangs tearing the nets.

CommentID: 218205

7/31/23  1:55 pm
Commenter: Kim

Agree with petition

Agree with petition 

CommentID: 218206

7/31/23  1:55 pm
Commenter: Robert Erickson

Stop the netting in the,Bay

Stop Omega from fishing the Bay

CommentID: 218207

7/31/23  1:58 pm
Commenter: Bill

Reduction fishing in Chesapeake Bay

The reduction fishery needs to eliminated or greatly curtailed in the Chesapeake Bay and within 3mi of the shore. To start there should be a 3yr moratorium on the fishery w/in those same waters. That would provide time to allow the Bay to start rebalancing and recovering. Omega can continue to fish out past the 3mi line as they currently do when they have depleted the stock in the Bay. 

CommentID: 218208

7/31/23  1:59 pm
Commenter: Greg Benning

I agree with this petition

Purse seine fishing needs to be regulated at a minimum. The effects on the entire ecosystem are catastrophic, especially when used for reduction fishing of Menhaden. Please look at the results of local ecological and biological studies around the Chesapeake rather than basing decisions on the menhaden population across the entire eastern seaboard. 
Thank you for your consideration. 

CommentID: 218209

7/31/23  2:05 pm
Commenter: Laura Tillman

In Support of New Limits to Purse Seine Nets

Menhaden harvesting by Omega has gone too far. They are not sharing a shared biological resource. For the first time, I watched three adult osprey nesting together to try to raise one fledgling. So very sad! Omega is crushing the Bay’s ecosystem.

CommentID: 218210

7/31/23  2:18 pm
Commenter: Katelyn shackelford

Net petition response

I am in favor of implementing news that will be more environmentally friendly to the eco system and the fish being caught. 

CommentID: 218211

7/31/23  2:41 pm
Commenter: Jennifer Garbowski


Get Omega out of the bay, and into the ocean!

CommentID: 218213

7/31/23  2:54 pm
Commenter: Keith McKesson

Agree with Petion

They have done way more damage with their nets in the bay than people realize.  They need to go to the ocean and stay there. Ride through the water right after they pull the nets and you will see.

CommentID: 218214

7/31/23  3:07 pm
Commenter: Caleb Gill

Agree with petition, Purse Seine Nets should be regulated.

Purse seine net depths should be regulated so there is not contact with the sea floor. Furthermore, purse seine catching should be ouside of state waters. The ships used to operate the nets are too large for the Chesapeake bay and damage the habitat and make unsafe conditions for other boaters. 

CommentID: 218217

7/31/23  3:41 pm
Commenter: charles adcock

Purse seine fishing gear type used

Multiple agencies have spent years trying to restore the grasses in the Chesapeake Bay. To allow one industry permission to destroy any of this hard earned progress is criminal. Any objective person can clearly see the negative impact purse seine fishing has on the grasses of the Chesapeake bay.  These nets are meant for off shore fishing, not in the shallow waters of the Bay

CommentID: 218218

7/31/23  3:42 pm
Commenter: Candy Williams

These nets and boats need to get in deeper waters !!

We need to protect the Chesapeake Bay before it is too late!!

CommentID: 218220

7/31/23  4:32 pm
Commenter: Dennis Lott

Purse Seine Netting Is Harming the Bay

I agree with the petition to place restrictions on purse seine net fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

CommentID: 218223

7/31/23  4:32 pm
Commenter: A. Wyatt

Agree with petitiin

Agree with petition

CommentID: 218224

7/31/23  4:34 pm
Commenter: Dan Adle

Agree with petition

Fully agree with the petition 

CommentID: 218225

7/31/23  4:35 pm
Commenter: James Palmer

Purse Seine Nets

Purse seine net depths should be regulated in order to avoid contact with the sea floor within Virginia water.

CommentID: 218226

7/31/23  4:38 pm
Commenter: Wesley R Dawson

Height reduction in nets used in the Chesapeake Bay

I strongly agree with this petition!

CommentID: 218227

7/31/23  4:49 pm
Commenter: Trey A


1000000% agree with this petition!!

CommentID: 218228

7/31/23  4:53 pm
Commenter: John Satterly

Gear type use in Virginia waters pertaining to depth of current purse seine nets

I agree with petition!

CommentID: 218229

7/31/23  4:56 pm
Commenter: Justin nichols


I agree 

CommentID: 218230

7/31/23  5:01 pm
Commenter: Jay Bell


I have grave concerns regarding the impact of menhaden fishing on the overall ecology of the lower Chesapeake Bay. I understand that research is currently ongoing. Studies on the overall impact of menhaden fishing in ocean environments are not relevant to the ecology of the bay and I look forward to more relevant research.  I live at silver beach and have also seen the results of fish kills.  I believe the current practices are not sustainable 

CommentID: 218231

7/31/23  5:32 pm
Commenter: Ron Zervakis

Commercial fishermen careless killing of redfish

Hold commerical fishermen accountable for killing redfish

CommentID: 218232

7/31/23  5:44 pm
Commenter: Lee Wiles

Agree with petition

Agree with petition 

CommentID: 218233

7/31/23  5:51 pm
Commenter: Tripp Carraway

Stop Omega

Omega needs to be help to the same standards as the rest of us and they need to be regulated, and fined out of business when they don't follow the laws.  

CommentID: 218234

7/31/23  6:11 pm
Commenter: Mike Martin

Agree with petition

Purse seine net depths should be regulated in order not to cause contact with the sea floor within Virginia waters.

CommentID: 218235

7/31/23  6:13 pm
Commenter: keith boyd

I agree with this effort

The first three times I fished for Cobia this summer the bay there was 8 or 9 menhaden boats out in the bay east of windmill point. The bay was covered up by them and two planes circling overhead, it was disgusting. We didn't get a bite all day. This is industrial rape of the bay. What would the Bay look like if we had massive schools of filter feeders constantaly cleaning the water. Virginia is allowing all this protein to be removed from the Chesapeake Ecosystem and shifted to an aquaculture ecosystem in Canada. Imagine if our apex species had that abundance of protien here???  Its discuting what we are allowing in Virginia. Other states had the good sense to stop this rape and unwise use.

CommentID: 218236

7/31/23  6:17 pm
Commenter: George Chasson

stop the netting.

stop the netting! 

CommentID: 218237

7/31/23  6:25 pm
Commenter: Landon Davis

Petition Support

I support increasing purse seine fishing regulation in the Chesapeake Bay, and not allowing deep water nets in shallow waters

CommentID: 218238

7/31/23  6:40 pm
Commenter: Taylor Kelley

Stop omega

Stop Omega

CommentID: 218239